Which president liked peanuts?

Here’s what presidents loved to snack on, including cottage cheese with ketchup and peanut butter waffles

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Do presidents have particular presidential tastes, or everyday ones like us? After all, we all have certain snacks and foods we love, or combos of food we love (french fries dipped in yogurt, anyone?!). Well, we’re happy to learn that we’re not the only ones. It turns out that presidents have favorite snacks, too, some of them more surprising than others.

Here are a few examples.

George H.W. Bush

When he was on the presidential campaign trail in 1988, George H.W. Bush said he liked salty, crunchy pork rinds, reported Vogue. What happened next? Sales increased and Bush was dubbed “Skin Man of the Year.”

Bill Clinton

When he was the governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton loved going to Doe’s Eat Place in Little Rock for a greasy jalapeño cheeseburger, reported Today. Then, as POTUS, he loved McDonald’s. People became aware, including SNL.

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Clinton later had heart-related surgeries, eventually becoming a vegan in 2011.

Ronald Reagan

According to Time, Ronald Reagan ~loved~ jelly beans, as in we’re surprised he didn’t open up his own jelly bean factory. But Reagan didn’t love just any jelly bean. His fave? Jelly Belly, formerly known as the Herman Goelitz Co. When Reagan was the governor of California, he and his guests went through two dozen 1-lb bags per month (aka 10,200 beans!).

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But that’s nothing compared to when Reagan was in office at the White House. Then, he had 720 bags of beans on hand per month — for the White House, Capitol Hill, and other federal buildings. Approximately how many beans is that? Only 306,070 (!).

Richard Nixon

Nixon’s daily lunch? Cottage cheese with ketchup, according to Vogue. Interesting, amirite?!

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter sounds like our kind of guy — basically, back in the day, he loved peanut butter-anything, according to Vogue. From peanut butter cornbread (!) to breakfast foods, like peanut butter pancakes, waffles, and French toast (all with peanut butter, of course).

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After all, before becoming president, Carter was a peanut farmer. So, it makes a ~ton~ of sense that he loved all of the above. Our only question is: Does he still today?!

Barack Obama

President Obama is into a salty-sweet treat — Fran’s Smoked Salt Caramels, reported Today. Yep, they’re like they sound, buttery caramels with milk chocolate and smoked sea salt. Um — does anyone else need to go on a chocolate run rn, or is it just us?

  • By Natalia Lusinski

Here’s How Many Jelly Bellys Ronald Reagan Ate Each Month

Ronald Reagan eating jelly beans during a meeting. NBC/NBCU Photo Bank—Getty Images

Residents of Pleasant Prairie, Wisc., were sounding a dirge Wednesday for the Jelly Belly Candy Co. warehouse, which company officials announced will be sold as operations relocate to Tennessee. By now the news of changes to the company have probably reached the candy’s number one fan somewhere in the great beyond.

Ronald Reagan loved jelly beans like pre-vegan Bill Clinton loved jalapeño cheeseburgers and FDR loved acronyms. And the 4oth president’s fondness for the bite-sized sugar capsules rubbed off on the American public. As TIME reported in 1981: “Now, with Ronald Reagan in the White House, they seem fated to achieve the luster that the praline of sugar and nuts enjoyed in the court of France’s Louis XIV.”

Reagan was not down with any old generic brand beans, however. As TIME explained:

The type most esteemed by the President is brand-named Jelly Belly, which—addicts vow—is to the ordinary jelly bean what foie gras is to liverwurst. About one-fourth the size of the Easter-basket staple and three times as expensive (up to $4 per lb.), Bellys come in an array of 36 flavors. Their manufacturer, Herman Goelitz Co. of Oakland, maintains that the flavors are so delicate that the beans should be eaten one at a time, not by the vulgar handful. How else to appreciate the richness of the coffee mocha, the tang of the piña colada, the bouquet of the strawberry daiquiri?

Goelitz began supplying Reagan when he was governor of California, during which time he and his visitors plowed through two dozen 1-lb bags monthly, amounting to approximately 10,200 beans. As president, Reagan placed a standing order of 720 bags per month (306,070 beans), to be distributed among the White House, Capitol Hill and other federal buildings.

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It’s probably time for the Jelly Belly Candy Co. to start lobbying presidential hopefuls to get their product back in the Oval Office.

Read the full article, here in the TIME Vault: Living: Hill of Beans

Write to Eliza Berman at [email protected]

Jelly Belly® Jelly Beans and Ronald Reagan

A jar of Jelly Belly® jelly beans on the
Cabinet table.

When Ronald Reagan ran for Governor of California in 1966, he began eating “Goelitz Mini Jelly Beans” as part of his successful attempt to give up pipe smoking. Herman Goelitz Candy Company, the Oakland-based producer of the jelly beans, sent a monthly shipment to the Governor’s Office throughout Reagan’s two terms in Sacramento. The company also made a custom-designed jelly bean jar for Reagan.

After Reagan left the governorship, he continued to receive shipments of Goelitz Mini Gourmet Jelly Beans directly from the company. When Herman Goelitz introduced its Jelly Belly® brand of jelly beans in 1976, it began including the new brand in Reagan’s regular shipment. Within two years, the shipment consisted entirely of the Jelly Belly® brand.

Three and a half tons of red, white, and blue Jelly Belly® jelly beans were shipped to Washington, DC for the 1981 Inaugural festivities. Blueberry, one of Jelly Belly® brand’s most popular flavors, was developed in 1980. Its blue color completed the other flag colored Jelly Belly® jelly beans, the red (Very Cherry) and white (Coconut).

Herman Goelitz Candy Company provided the Reagan White House with Jelly Belly® jelly beans for all eight years of Reagan’s presidency. In February 1981 Herman G. Rowland, the president of Herman Goelitz and a fourth-generation descendant of the company’s founders, received official Government authorization to develop a Jelly Belly® jelly bean jar with the Presidential Seal on it. These Presidential jars of Jelly Belly® beans, each in its own blue gift box, were given by Reagan to heads of state, diplomats, and many other White House guests.

President Reagan’s favorite Jelly Belly® flavor was licorice.

Note: From 1978 to 2001 Jelly Belly® jelly beans were jointly manufactured by two Goelitz-owned companies, with headquarters in California and a plant in North Chicago, Ill., respectively. In 2001 the two companies, Herman Goelitz Candy Company (California) and Goelitz Confectionery Company (Chicago area), combined into one corporation named Jelly Belly® Candy Company headquartered in Fairfield, California.

Rev. January 2013

Ronald Reagan’s Jelly Beans

Table of Contents

Ronald Reagan may have had a sweet tooth, but the true reason he began eating jelly beans was because he quit smoking. Reagan, a former actor, was well-known for Chesterfield cigarette ads from the 1940s and ‘50s, but it was pipe-smoking that had him hooked.

Campaigning for Governor

When he began his campaign for governor of California in 1966, Reagan knew he needed to give up his pipe. Candy of some type was a logical substitute, and he liked jelly beans. He wisely chose to buy from a California company, the Herman Goelitz Candy Company.

In 1965, the Oakland-based company came out with a new mini-jelly bean. The beans were novel for their small size, but they tasted special, too. Goelitz created a way to infuse the entire bean with flavor. (Regular jelly beans contain a sweet jelly-like center; only the shell is flavored.)

Both Reagan and the Goelitz company celebrated when Reagan won the governorship. He took office in 1967, and his staff placed a standing order for monthly deliveries of jelly beans to government offices in Sacramento.

Jelly Bellys

A little over a decade later, the Herman Goelitz Candy Company introduced a new product: “Gourmet jelly beans,” also in the mini-size. In 1976, they picked up on an idea from one of the candy delivery men who suggested they produce their mini-jelly beans in attention-getting flavors. The first gourmet beans introduced were Very Cherry, Root Beer, Cream Soda, Tangerine, Green Apple, Lemon, Licorice, and Grape.

Because Reagan was a long-time customer who was also well-known, the company slipped complimentary packages of the new jelly beans—called Jelly Bellys–into the governor’s regular shipments.

Reagan became a fan. He soon switched his order to consist totally of Jelly Bellys. Licorice was his favorite flavor.

Contemplating a Presidential Run

After serving as governor of California from 1967-1975, Reagan entertained the idea of running for president. By 1978, he began campaigning in earnest. Because he continued to eat jelly beans, the candy company’s fortunes improved as Reagan made political progress.

In 1980, a photographer from TIME magazine was covering Reagan’s campaign. He happened to take a photograph that clearly revealed the brand of jelly bean Reagan was eating.

A few months later, Jelly Bellys enjoyed editorial mention in TIME:

“The type most esteemed by the President is brand-named Jelly Belly, which—addicts vow—is to the ordinary jelly bean what foie gras is to liverwurst. About one-fourth the size of the Easter-basket staple and three times as expensive (up to $4 per lb.), Bellys come in an array of 36 flavors. Their manufacturer, Herman Goelitz Co. of Oakland, maintains that the flavors are so delicate that the beans should be eaten one at a time, not by the vulgar handful. How else to appreciate the richness of the coffee mocha, the tang of the piña colada, the bouquet of the strawberry daiquiri?”

Jelly Bean Business Boomed

Between the photo and the eventual article mention, telephone calls to the candy company heated up. Many were press calls, but even more calls were orders. The company, which was still relatively small, fell several weeks behind in orders.

At the time, Chairman Herman Rowland said that Reagan’s love for the candy “made us a worldwide company overnight.” The business went from sales of $8 million per year to double that number the following year.

Reagan’s Inauguration and Jelly Bellys

As the national press began to cover all aspects of Nancy and Ronald Reagan’s lives, many stories focused on the president-elect’s love of jelly beans. Of course, the inauguration committee saw that red, white, and blue jelly beans would be needed for the January celebration.

The Herman Goelitz Candy Company was more than happy to accommodate the committee, but they had work to do. They had red beans (Very Cherry) and white (Coconut), but as of 1980, they had not yet manufactured a blue bean. After a little mixing and tinkering, they were able to introduce “Blueberry.” Even now it is one of the company’s most popular flavors.

In January 1981—just in time for the inaugural festivities–Goelitz Company shipped three and a half tons of red, white, and blue jelly beans to Washington, D.C.

Reagan’s Jelly Beans in White House

After the inauguration, the Reagan White House placed a standing order for 720 bags of beans per month. Jelly beans became a staple offering anywhere the president was–in the Oval Office, at cabinet meetings, and on Air Force One. Some were also distributed throughout government buildings.

The Goelitz Company obtained permission to create an official candy jar with the presidential seal. They also came up with a candy container made specially for Air Force One. It was designed so that the jelly beans would not pop out or spill if there was turbulence.

A jar of the beans also became the perfect gift for visiting dignitaries.

Reagan enjoyed these candies so much that he later sent a letter to the CEO: “We can hardly start a meeting or make a decision without passing around the jar of jelly beans.”

The popularity of the president and the association with Jelly Bellys led many members of the public to craft portraits of Reagan or of both the President and First Lady/ The artwork was often sent to the candy company. (The White House almost certainly received art, too.) Many of the portraits were displayed at Jelly Belly headquarters and in their factories.

Mourning the Loss of President Reagan

When Ronald Reagan died on June 5, 2004, the Jelly Belly Company marked the occasion by placing black ribbons over the many Reagan jelly bean portraits.

Individuals, too, found a fitting way to mark the death of Jelly Bellys’ greatest fan. Many who visited the Reagan library or his gravesite left small offerings of Jelly Bellys behind.

To read more about the story behind jelly beans, .

And to read about the pets of the Reagan White House, click on Dogs of Ronald Reagan.

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