A new book Dictators’ Dinners: A Bad Taste Guide to Entertaining Tyrants by Victoria Clark and Melissa Scott offers a surprising taste of the favorite foods of some of the world’s most infamous dictators.
Though Adolf Hitler was thought to have been a vegetarian—something that was apparently confirmed by der fuhrer’s food taster—it appears old Adolf was a big fan of fledgling pigeon stuffed with tongue, liver and pistachio nuts. So he was more of a part-time vegetarian. Also let’s not forget that Hitler donated a pint of his blood to make blood sausage to celebrate a Nazi last supper according to Robert G. L. Waite in his biography The Psychopathic God. Blood sausage aside, by the end of his life Hitler’s table manners had gone to pot and he wolfed “down his food in a mechanical way…..bit his nails at table, and ran his index finger back and forth under his nose, and stuffed himself with cake.”
Like all top Communists, Joseph Stalin liked to eat while others starved. It was all for the good of the cause, which in Stalin’s case meant six hour banquets “where copious amounts of semi-sweet Khvanchkara wine were consumed, leaving guests puking and incontinent.”
Stalin’s love of epicurean excess did not go unnoticed as future commie leader and shoe-banger Nikita Khrushchev remarked:
‘I don’t think there has ever been a leader of comparable responsibilities who wasted more time than Stalin did just sitting around the dinner table eating and drinking.’
Uncle Joe’s favorite chow was chicken with walnuts and spices. His chef Spiridon Putin was the grandfather of current Russian premier Vladimir Putin. Small world, eh?
Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini used to touch his balls every time he thought someone was giving him the evil eye. Il Duce loathed pasta and potatoes claiming they gave him a sore head, but he loved rough-chopped garlic with oil and lemon, which was no doubt a major duvet lifter come bedtime…
‘He used to eat a whole bowl of it,’ his wife Rachele once fondly confided to the family cook. ‘I couldn’t go anywhere near him after that. At night I’d leave him to sleep alone in our room and take refuge in one of the children’s rooms!’
Fidel Castro was very fond of turtle soup, but as turtles are now an endangered species, Castro now only likes “plain” food such as lamb cutlets, salted cod, fried bananas and lobster. What no beans on toast?
It has often been claimed that President Idi Amin “Dada” was a cannibal, who enjoyed chowing down on the faces of his enemies. When asked by a reporter if this was true, Amin replied:
‘I don’t like human flesh –- it’s too salty for me.’
Now you know. In fact, Amin’s favorite food was apparently oranges—probably quenching all that human saltiness—and was said to eat up to 40 oranges a day, claiming the fruit kept him healthy and gave him the horn.
Another man of the people, Kim Jong Il had expensive tastes in food and sent his chef around the world in search of:
Iranian caviar, Danish pork,Thai mangoes and Japanese rice cakes flavoured with mugwort, at $120 a pop.
Big daddy Kim Jong also loved raw fish—basically fish that had just been pulled out the water and were thrashing about in their death throes. He also employed a woman to ensure his rice grains were exactly the same size. Talk about fussy eating…
His son Kim Jong-un apparently has a liking for Emmental cheese, which may or may not explain his alleged gout.
Libya’s deposed dictator Muammar Gaddafi was well-known for his dreadful flatulence, often expelling loud smelly farts during interviews and meetings with dignitary. If only the old farter had known the cause of this noxious gas was his favorite food—camel’s milk. Indeed, no part of this poor beast was allowed to go to waste, and Gaddafi especially enjoyed camel hump and couscous.
Saddam Hussein had a taste for only the best farm-fresh beef and lamb, which had to be trimmed of all its fat. He was also particular about his olives, which had to come from the Golan Heights. His favorite tipple was Grand Old Parr whisky and his favorite candy Quality Street.
Malawi’s former dictator Hasting Banda liked “dried mopane worms” that is the caterpillar of the Emperor moth, which he ate as a snack like potato chips.
If you fancy learning how to eat like a dictator, then order your copy of Dictators’ Dinners: A Bad Taste Guide to Entertaining Tyrants by Victoria Clark and Melissa Scott here.
Below, Eric Idle’s classic Rutland Weekend Television sketch “Cookery Time with Lenin.”