It's natural to sympathize with the starving population of a famine-ravished country, but whereas a citizen knows where his next meal is coming from (the ration store, or a guy he just stabbed), the satiation of a dictator is much more unpredictable.
Will that live fish transported 600mi survive the journey? Is the clear soup transparent enough to be decidedly poison-free? How many Mars bars are left in this spider-hole? These are the questions that haunt the hunger of some of the world's fiercest rulers, so read on to learn more about their idiosyncratic eating habits.
The History Blog
1. Despite a stomach ulcer, Mussolini was an aficionado of raw garlic. Also, he thought that each meal should be consumed in under 3min and that a human shouldn't spend more than 10min per day eating, presumably in order to have more time to stand on balconies before adoring crowds.
2. One of the favorite foods of His Excellency Saparmurat “President for Life” Niyazov of Turkmenistan was a freshly baked loaf of his mother. The ruler changed the word for bread to his mother's name, Gurbansoltanedzhe.
The Private Life of Henry VIII
3. King Henry VIII of England had his fair share of bizarre tastes, including whale, roasted peacock, and grilled beaver tails.
AP Photo/Abdel Magid Al Fergany
4. Libya's Muammar Gaddafi liked to eat camel meat alongside Italian food.
5. Hitler eventually became so afraid of being poisoned that his diet consisted entirely of clear soup and mashed potatoes.
The China Story
6. In what was basically the opposite of farm-to-table, Mao Zedong had his favorite fish transported 600mi from the Southern coast of China alive in plastic bags. SPOILER ALERT: He was also kind of a jerk.
7. Saddam Hussein loved Raisin Bran Crunch and was found with a stash of Mars bars in his spider-hole.
Chicks on the Right
8. Although most of the rest of the country were starvies rather than foodies, Stalin pressed his good taste on his citizens via a cookbook boasting dishes like mince cakes (beef cutlets) and a spicy Georgian lamb stew. He also was very particuar about the quality of his bananas, and would go ape if presented with one that was too ripe.
10. Deposed Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben-Ali flew in his favorite brand of French ice cream from Saint-Tropez daily.