This week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she is stepping down as House Democratic leader and inadvertently revealed that our ice-cream-and-Gatorade-loving president Joe Biden isn’t the only top U.S. official who eats like a 5-year-old. Pelosi concluded an interview on her departure by announcing that she was off to to eat a hot dog — which she eats every day — according to The Wall Street Journal’s Natalie Andrews:
People were aghast to learn that someone whose favorite meat is hot dog could be not just surviving, but thriving.
Those thinking about Pelosi’s dietary habits for the very first time this week may be shocked to learn that her daily hot dog actually isn’t her weirdest food habit. Pelosi really loves chocolate. Like, “regularly eats chocolate ice cream for breakfast” loves chocolate.
Women loving chocolate is a well-known trope; for some fictional women, like the comic-strip character Cathy and Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Deanna Troi, it’s presented as a core personality trait. So it would be safe to assume that the media’s focus on the first female Speaker’s passion for chocolate is rooted in sexism. But her chocoholism goes well beyond preferring brownies for dessert or keeping a stash of chocolates in her desk (though colleagues have revealed that she keeps her office stocked with her “beloved Ghirardelli,” a chocolate manufacturer in her district).
In an April 2020 appearance on The Late Late Show With James Corden, Pelosi showed off an entire freezer full of chocolate ice cream.
And in January 2019, she laid out a provocative culinary stance on CBS Sunday Morning, saying she sometimes eats chocolate as hors d’oeuvres, yet “I don’t consider anything that isn’t chocolate dessert.”
In a 2017 interview with Food & Wine, Pelosi revealed that dark-chocolate ice cream is her breakfast of choice:
I’ve been eating dark chocolate ice cream for breakfast for as long as I can remember. I don’t see it as different from having a cup of coffee. The flavors keep getting darker and darker, which I love. Double Rainbow has one called Ultra Chocolate; you can just imagine how delicious that is. And Three Twins, I like their Bittersweet Chocolate. Sugar cones are my thing.
And earlier this year, Pelosi told the River Cafe Table 4 podcast that this was not just some D.C. legend.
“It’s not an urban myth. It’s convenient, it’s right there, it has a long shelf life, you don’t have to worry about it. I have it for breakfast. It’s a great way to start the day,” the Speaker explained, per People. “When I was younger, I used to have it before I went to sleep — a pint of chocolate ice cream. But as time has gone by, the later the chocolate, the less sleep I have.”
Pelosi clarified that chocolate ice cream isn’t her only breakfast choice. “I don’t have it every day, but I have it often,” she said. So what else does she eat, beyond ice cream and hot dogs? In the Food & Wine interview, she said she’s also fond of Ethiopian food, dim sum, and various carb dishes from Northern Italy, where her father’s family is from.
A May 2013 Financial Times profile provides some other clues about her daily eating habits. The piece contains no mention of hot dogs; instead, Pelosi’s lunch order consists of Cobb salad and a cheesesteak hoagie. But a run-in with Congressman Jim Moran suggests that may have been for the reporter’s benefit:
Spotting her salad, Moran says: “That’s the first healthy thing I’ve seen you eat in months,” before turning to me and adding: “She only eats bacon and doughnuts, while all of us are trying to figure out how to eat a healthy diet.”
… I ask her what Congressman Moran meant with his quip about her eating habits. “He gets annoyed when I have bacon on top of a chocolate doughnut in the morning,” she replies.
The impact of all this junk food on the 82-year-old Pelosi is between her and her doctor, of course. But she claimed on The Late Late Show that, somehow, it’s doing wonders for her body and spirit. “I enjoy it. I like it better than anything else,” she said. “And I don’t know why, but it seems to agree with me. I have a lot of energy.”
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