Presidential favorites get a healthy boost

Pulled Pork SandwichesPulled Pork SandwichesSince I'm totally obsessed with election coverage and food, I've been wondering about the candidates' favorite foods. I know McCain and Obama are busy campaigning, so I don't expect their campaigns to return my calls and emails, but in the meantime, I did a little digging and found in no particular order the candidates' favorite eats (and suggestions for healthier versions of their faves).

It turns out that Barack Obama is a comfort food guy. (Maybe not a big surprise for a Midwestern dweller?) His wife, Michelle told Paula Deen that her husband's favorite grub is a steaming bowl of chili, I discovered when reading an Associated Press article. If we were going to cook for Obama, we'd put a low-calorie, high-fiber spin on this classic dish and make him a rib-sticking bowl of our Beef & Bean Chile Verde served with all the fixin's-reduced-fat sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, chopped scallions and chopped fresh tomatoes.

John McCain likes his meat. His favorite food is baby back ribs, I read in the USA Today blog On Politics. Since EatingWell is all about health, we'd have a hard time coming up with a ribs recipe that fits into our healthy nutrition guidelines. So, if we were going to dine with McCain, we'd give him a chance to taste how good our heart-healthy, succulent oven-cooked Pulled Pork Sandwiches are (pictured above).

Joe Biden loves Italian food. I read on The Boston Globe's website that when Biden cooks, and when he eats out, he picks pasta. Apparently he often orders penne with tomato sauce and basil when he dines at Toscana Kitchen + Bar in Wilmington, Delaware. Makes it simple for us health nuts. If we were going to break bread with Biden, we'd dish up healthy whole-wheat penne pasta with this easy, basil-spiked Raw Tomato Sauce:

Combine 1 1/2 pounds chopped plum tomatoes, 1/3 cup diced fresh part-skim mozzarella, 2 tablespoons chopped Kalamata olives, 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and 1 clove garlic (minced). Add 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram, 1/4 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Let stand to allow tomatoes to release their juices.

Sarah Palin likes to have a hand in her meal from field to fork. I read in The Globe that Palin's favorite food is moose stew, made with moose she hunted herself. We love knowing where our ingredients come from, but given that we're cooks over here at EatingWell, and not hunters, we'd probably cook Palin hearty Flemish Beef Stew, made in a slow-cooker with beer for extra flavor.

What do you think about the candidates' favorite foods? Tell us and share your own favorites.

By Michelle Edelbaum

Michelle is the associate editor of interactive for EatingWell Media Group. In between editing and writing, she enjoys sampling the tasty results of the easy, healthy recipes that the EatingWell Test Kitchen cooks are working on.

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