Barack Obama gave a speech for the history books on Wednesday night during the Democratic National Convention, preaching hope and unity to a party left fractured and raw following a contentious primary race. But along with the president's reputation as a masterful orator, there's something else Americans will remember about Obama's legacy: his eating habits.
The first commander-in-chief to brew his own beer—and the first to host an annual Passover Seder in the White House—Obama's palate has always seemed presidential and progressive. And while Obama was recently outed for a quirky late-night snacking habit by the New York Times, the president joined Savannah Guthrie on the Today show Wednesday to set the record straight.
Earlier this month, former White House chef Sam Kass told the Times that Obama maintains a strict ritual of consuming seven lightly salted almonds in the Treaty Room every night. “Michelle and I would always joke: Not six. Not eight,” Kass said. “Always seven almonds.”
While the news almost caused a scandal of Waterergate proportions, it turns out the president doesn't always eat exactly seven almonds.
“This is an example of the weird way that the press works,” Obama told Guthrie. “Michelle and Sam Kass, who was our chef here, one night they were talking about me and teasing me about how disciplined I was, that I didn’t have potato chips or I didn’t have a piece of cake. And this is when Michelle said, ‘Yes, and he just has seven almonds. That’s it.’ To really drive home the point that I needed to loosen up a little bit. And Sam relayed this joke to The New York Times in the article and somehow it was relayed as if I was counting out the seven almonds.”
Concerned with his rigidity, friends began questioning Obama about his quirky snack habit.
“All my friends were calling up and they’re saying, ‘You know, this seems a little anal. This is kind of weird,’” the president said. “And I had to explain to them, no, this was a joke.”
Obama also told Today that he'd consider eating 10 or 11 almonds in a single sitting.
"Almonds are a good snack though," he laughed, "I strongly recommend them."