Corn cakes, fish, cherries and more.
Cherry Hand Pies
Puff pastry makes quick work of these buttery, sweet cherry-filled hand pies.
| Credit: © John Kernick

Presidents’ Day may be a holiday that celebrates all of our illustrious leaders, but it falls closest to the birthdays of our two greatest commanders in chief: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Toast their achievements by whipping up a meal packed with some of their favorite foods.

George Washington’s Favorite Foods

While he didn’t actually chop down a cherry tree, Washington did love cherries. These buttery cherry hand pies are quick and easy to make thanks to store-bought puff pastry.

Washington’s daughter, Nelly, once wrote about her father’s love of hoecakes (a.k.a. johnnycakes) covered in butter and honey.

Washington loved fish so much he even ate it for breakfast. He would have adored this salmon hash topped with oozy poached eggs.

Hot Chocolate
Breakfasts at Mt. Vernon often included hot chocolate.

A Big Roast
Dinner (the midday meal) was a serious occasion at Mt. Vernon. Records show that Washington indulged in an array of meats, including roasted pig, roast beef, mutton chops and boiled leg of lamb. Any one of these 18 fantastic roasts would have fit right in.

Abraham Lincoln’s Favorite Foods

Chicken Fricassee
Lincoln could be a bit of a picky eater at dinner (or perhaps he was just preoccupied with brilliant ideas), but he did love Chicken Fricassee. This creamy recipe includes earthy mushrooms and herbaceous celery leaves.

Fresh, hot gingerbread was one of Lincoln’s favorite childhood treats. This supermoist molasses gingerbread is great any time of year.

Corn Cakes
Like Washington, Lincoln loved corn cakes. He used to say that he could eat them as fast as two women could make them. These crispy, mini corn cakes take just 30 minutes to throw together.

Lincoln was health conscious. He loved apples because they “agreed” with him. This old-fashioned, all-American apple pie would agree with anyone.

Almond Cake
One of Lincoln’s favorite desserts was his wife’s white almond cake.