President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump walk down red-carpeted stairs, Saturday, May 20, 2017, on their arrival at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump walk down red-carpeted stairs, Saturday, May 20, 2017, on their arrival at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

A culinary guide to Donald Trump’s first foreign trip

His love of fries is well established, so how will he get on with Middle Eastern, Italian, Belgian and French cuisine?

The US President Donald Trump is faithful to a particular aspect of his nation’s cuisine. Burgers, fries and buckets of fried chicken are all apparently favoured by this world leader. So, as he embarks on his brief European tour, how will he adapt to the kinds of dishes likely to come his way in the home of couscous, carbonara and croustillons? Here’s a little regional insight, courtesy of our cookbooks.

 

Harisa, from The Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookbook
Harisa, from The Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookbook

Israel, Palestine and the Middle East President Trump hopes to crack the Middle East peace process. Could food help? Our book The Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookbook by the Lebanese author Salma Hage offers insight into the communal side of this region’s cookery. Take harisa, a celebratory barley dish, eaten at breakfast across the region. “Traditionally, half a dozen men would stir the pot with large wooden paddles throughout the night,” explains Hage. “That’s what made it special: all that effort and preparation. On the night of the celebrations, people would come with drums and play them for everyone to dance to. People would hold each other by the arms and dance together until late into the night, while somebody played the flute.” Hold that image for a moment before heading here to get the full recipe in our book.

 

Roman Saltimbocca from The Silver Spoon
Roman Saltimbocca from The Silver Spoon

Rome and the Vatican Trump’s love of Ceasar salads and spaghetti is well established. Could his stop in Rome and at the Vatican introduce him to more authentic examples of Italian cuisine? Both the President and the Italian capital’s cooks are known for their love of meat. Perhaps he should try Roman saltimbocca, from our comprehensive Italian cookbook, The Silver Spoon. These veal slices, wrapped in prosciutto slices, stuffed with fresh sage and cooked in butter go down pretty easily; the name literally translates as ‘jumps into the mouth’. You can find the full recipe in The Silver Spoon.

 

Boar sausages from Recipes from the Woods
Boar sausages from Recipes from the Woods

Belgium and France Trump is a staunch defender of gun rights, and so perhaps would appreciate a little European game during his Brussels visit. Certainly, his lunch on Thursday with the French president Emmanuel Macron might offer him an opportunity to try something akin to the kind of recipes Jean-François Mallet outlines in his book Recipes from the Woods. Dry-Cured Wild Boar Sausages anyone? Not exactly fast food though. While the preparation time is only 20 minutes, the drying time is three weeks. You can get the full recipe in our book.

 

Ice cream brioche, in Sicily
Ice cream brioche, in Sicily

Sicily It may be only a few hundred miles south of Rome, yet the food of Sicily is a world apart from that of mainland Italy. “Like the layers of a timballo, its characteristic baked pasta dish, the essence of modern Sicilian cuisine has evolved from layers upon layers of the history of this island,” we explain in our Sicily cookbook. Nevertheless, there are a few comforting, easy dishes on the local menus, such as the traditional Sicilian breakfast of ice-cream stuffed brioche. “A fresh brioche stuffed with gelato and a shot of espresso!” says our book. “It doesn’t get much better than that!” Hold the coffee, though – President Trump doesn’t drink the stuff.

 

McDonald's burgers, from The World is Your Burger
McDonald's burgers, from The World is Your Burger

Anywhere in Europe Donald Trump loves fast food, particularly McDonald’s. Perhaps he, like many weary travellers, will find comfort within the Golden Arches. Indeed, Trump’s love of McDonald’s is credited with increasing his appeal among working-class voters. If only the restaurant itself had such foresight when it launched its best-loved burger. “McDonald’s Big Mac was previously named the “Aristocrat” and “Blue Ribbon Burger,” both of which failed in the marketplace,” explains burger expert David Michaels in our new book The World is Your Burger.

 

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are welcomed by Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, on their arrival to Ben Gurion International Airport, Monday, May 22, 2017, in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are welcomed by Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, on their arrival to Ben Gurion International Airport, Monday, May 22, 2017, in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)
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