Throughout history, leaders have been worried, often justifiably, about the possibility of poisoning, which probably accounts for the prevalance of food tasters. Some of them have taken this suspicion to extremes. According to this (perhaps not well-sourced) article, queens, kings, popes and emperors have gone to extraordinary lengths to protect themselves from poison, from using special cutlery to rituals and supposed universal antidotes. Of course, the practice of using food tasters itself is another example of this abundance of caution.

Since most poisoning attempts have historically involved poisons added to food after or during preparation— it is, after all, far easier to poison a soup than a tomato—it would seem logical that some leaders' paranoia might have led them to try to eliminate the possibility of betrayal in this area altogether. However, some searches didn't turn up any examples. Are there any historically attested examples of leaders who insisted on preparing their own food so as to avoid poisoning attempts?

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    That just pushes the problem upstream to those supplying the food, and downstream to those serving it. Further, to exhibit such distrust of everyone around them is a clear sign of insanity that would not be missed by ambitious underlings. There might have been a leader (Caligula?) who exhibited this level of paranoia, but the reign would absolutely have been short-lived. Further, such behaviour would have been historically note-worthy - historians would and contemporaries would have been remarking on it ever since. "The dog didn't bark in the night." – Pieter Geerkens Feb 14 at 11:46
  • Take an example - Gandhi's example of weaving his own clothes is so remarkable, that it's one of the first things almost everyone learns about him. When something is far more remarkable than even that - and no-one ever has remarked on it - then No, it never happened. – Pieter Geerkens Feb 14 at 11:56
  • As regards the article - it's alleged that Trump's chef doubles as official taster. Sensible, as Trump has powerful enemies; unremarkable, as chefs routinely taste test the food they prepare anyways; and efficient, as any chef who declines the double assignment is suspicious immediately on those grounds alone. Trump also routinely declines all beverages, including water, prepared outside known supply chains. – Pieter Geerkens Feb 14 at 11:58
  • consider also that before modern appliances, gas and electricity, cooking was much more time consuming than today. Specially for more elaborate plates served at the kings table. I doubt any king would have the time to do it permanently. – Luiz Feb 14 at 14:11
  • @Pieter - I thought it was implicit in the question that they wouldn't cook the food themselves and then have someone else serve it at that point. – Obie 2.0 Feb 14 at 20:21

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