The favorite foods of historical figures - from world leaders, to great thinkers, to musicians, authors, and scientists - are a bit surprising. But their cravings are certainly humanizing. Abe Lincoln, for example, was a legendary president, but he also loved bacon. The favorite foods of presidents speak to their personalities and experiences, while other famous foodies seem to have enjoyed old classics and luxurious fare as well.
Some historical foods hardly seem edible, but you never know. Maybe some older fare is still delicious.
Mushroom ketchup, an oft-used colonial seasoning, was one of George Washington's favorite meal supplements. He began using the sauce during his military service; it was particularly popular among 18th-century troops and didn't include any tomatoes. Made of mushrooms, anchovies, and horseradish, Washington's preferred meal flavoring was sometimes called English catsup.
Age: Dec. at 67 (1732-1799)
Birthplace: Virginia, USA
Charles Darwin liked to taste test what he discovered. The scientific innovator made a practice of eating the exotic animals he encountered, and he even enjoyed the armadillo he was given aboard the HMS Beagle. According to Darwin, the armadillo tasted and looked "like duck," but he also enjoyed puma which may have been "the best meat [he] ever tasted."
Age: Dec. at 73 (1809-1882)
Birthplace: The Mount, Shrewsbury, United Kingdom
Charlie Chaplin apparently had three favorite dishes - stewed tripe, lamb stew, and curry. He became accustomed to stewed foods in childhood. Chaplin's wife used to cook his favorites on Tuesdays. Chaplain's son, Michael, called the meals "things [Chaplain] must have had, or wished he'd had, as a kid in South London."
Age: Dec. at 88 (1889-1977)
Birthplace: Walworth, United Kingdom
Henry Beauclerc, better known as King Henry I, ruled England from 1100 until his death in 1135. He enjoyed a good meal of lamprey - jawless, eel-like fish. Unfortunately for the monarch, those fish caused his downfall. Allegedly, King Henry gorged himself on lamprey, ignoring his doctor's orders. Reports claimed:
[King Henry I was afflicted with] a sudden and extreme disturbance, under which his aged frame sunk into a deathly torpor; in the reaction against which. Nature in her struggles produced an acute fever, while endeavouring to throw off the oppressive load. But when all power of resistance failed, this great king died.
Age: Dec. at 67 (1068-1135)
Birthplace: Selby, United Kingdom