Historian Claims This Was Abraham Lincoln's Last Meal Before His Assassination

When we think of the president of the United States, we often see them as these revered and important leaders and can forget that they're human, too. One thing that all humans must do to survive is eat, and that includes presidents. Also just like us average folk, these political figures have their favorite types of foods or preferences. For example, Teddy Roosevelt loved his fried chicken with gravy, while Barack Obama satisfies his sweet tooth with sea salted caramels (per First We Feast).

However, when we look back at some of the eating habits of some of these presidents, their food choices appear to be more simple the further back you go. According to History, one of America's most beloved and influential leaders, Abraham Lincoln, had pretty basic desires when it came to food. One of his favorites was reportedly chicken fricassee (described at Martha Stewart as simmered chicken and hearty vegetables in a rich sauce), but that was about as fancy as it got.

While there is generally not tons of focus on the eating habits of the president, Lincoln's food preferences have gotten a little more scrutiny, along with about every other aspect of his life, due to the fact that he was the first United States president to be assassinated. Because of this, some have asked, what was Lincoln's last meal before his death?

Food as fuel

Lincoln reportedly saw food as more of an energy source versus a decadent indulgence (per History). As such, his food choices generally were pretty straightforward and even sparse, including things like coffee, eggs, fruit, biscuits, and milk. He also enjoyed meals that his wife prepared, including corned beef and cabbage. Though he had a tendency to keep things simple, he still had his favorites. According to Mental Floss, some of Lincoln's favorite foods were apples, corn cakes, oysters, gingerbread men, and bacon.

Lincoln had his preferences when it came to his food, like everyone else, but according to History, one of Lincoln's private secretaries noticed that Lincoln actually did not eat all that much. He stated that Lincoln "ate less than anyone I know." There were times that his wife and first lady, Mary Todd Lincoln, consulted with the White House cook on how to make meals that would entice her husband's appetite.

Was this really on the table for Lincoln's final meal?

On April 14, 1865, President Lincoln had what would turn out to be his last meal. According to History, Lincoln spent the earlier part of the night reading to his friends from a book. Eventually he and his wife got to the dinner table, though they reportedly didn't stay longer than about 30 minutes. Author Andrew Caldwell ("Their Last Suppers: Legends of History and Their Final Meals") reports that the couple dined on a meal consisting of "mock" turtle soup, roast Virginia fowl with chestnut stuffing, baked yams, and cauliflower with a cheese sauce. However, it is important to note that Caldwell gives no source to support that this was the exact meal that Lincoln ate (per History). Other historians believe that the final Lincoln menu is unknown.

Despite the fact that this was a dinner on Good Friday, leading up to Easter, author Edward Steers thinks that it is likely the meal that Lincoln had would have been in line with his normal eating habits. Following their meal, the president and first lady then got in a carriage to attend a play, "Our American Cousin," at Ford's Theater, where later that night President Abraham Lincoln would be shot.