Vintage Ford Facts Search

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Henry Ford's Diet and Food Quirks.

Alot has been written about Henry Ford but seldom does the personal side of Ford get mentioned aside from his letting out bird calls to Clara Ford when he arrived home to Fair Lane and other assorted yarns.

Henry Ford's eating habits were shall we say- unique. He never cared much for the cow stating that "it was all ashes anyways. We can make meat over in the laboratory!" He also said "chicken is only fit for hawks'' But on the same note, he enjoyed steaks and beef roasts that were so tender they fell apart when you put a fork to them, and grocery receipts survive showing the Ford household eating chicken on a regular basis.  Lamb chops were another favorite presumably because they were Thomas Edison's favorite as well.

During his "carrot phase" Ford would wander up to a subordinate's desk, pull a couple of carrots out of jacket pocket, offer one to the employee, Ford taking the other. Both would sit there munching carrots while talking over business at hand. He also sponsored a dinner advocating the carrot and had 14 dishes prepared with carrots. Ford even donned a Carrot costume and made a short speech about the carrot!

Another instance of Ford vs employee vs food has to do with Ford showing up at yet another workers desk and telling the occupant "Let's you & I get drunk! Food Drunk!" Ford who usually munched on his 'rabbit food' at the Executive Roundtable, ate everything in sight including several pieces of pie and multiple servings of meat.  After the smorgasbord of a lunch they went to Ray Dahlinger's office and upon receiving a couple of pasteboard tubes, Henry said "It's a new laxative, supposed to work real good. Even Ray here is going to try it with us."

 In the 1920s Ford only ate stale bread and refused to eat bread fresh out of the oven. He never drank cold water, it was always room temperature Poland Water. Water bottle holders were added to Ford's personal 1929 Model A Coupe and his Model T Coupe that preceded the Model A.

He advocated not eating anything until 1pm and avoiding all starches and sweets as they were bad for the body.
So what were Ford's favorite foods? Buckwheat pancakes appear to be his favorite food. He ate them whenever he wanted and if the kitchen staff was asleep, he'd make them himself. Film footage exists showing Ford cooking some buckwheat cakes on one of the Vagabond camping trips with Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone and naturalist John Burroughs. It can safely be said Ford had a fine helping of cakes that day.

Large quantities of Sausages, Eggs, Butter, sides of Bacon, Pork chops, and other common foods show as being shipped to Ford's Fort Myers & Richmond Hill, GA homes when they were on vacation. These foods came from the Ford farms.

Here's a couple recipes from the Ford kitchen. The sausage recipe appears to be one that was used by both Ford and the Ray Dahlingers who lived 'up the river a piece'

Strathy Hall Sausage
6 lbs lean pork
3 lbs fat   pork
12 tsps powdered sage
6   tsps black pepper
6  tsps  salt
6 tsps  powdered mace
2 tsps  powdered cloves
1 grated nutmeg
Grind in sausage mill, stir in seasoning- fry a small piece and try. Make any changes you like.

I purposely have not touched on the soybean in this post as it deserves it's own entry. The Sausage recipe above comes from the book "The Secret Life of Henry Ford" by John Dahlinger. We will do a book review on this publication very soon.