According to this story First Lady Michelle Obama held the first-ever “state” dinner for kids at the White House as the culmination of soliciting recipes from kids for good food. Furthermore the meal was cooked entirely by amateurs. The kids also got a tour of the Julia Child exhibit at the Smithsonian. You can even get the cookbook of the winning recipes here. And more of Michelle’s initiation for good eating can be found here.
Previously I’d seen an episode of Restaurant Impossible on FoodNetwork where Michelle encouraged Robert Irvine to do his remodel and refurbish gig on Horton’s Kids. Not only was Robert able to come up with some menu items the kids liked they even got the kids interested in gardening in an unused patch behind a school. Restaurant Impossible has its own budget and desire for popularity but it was amazing how Michelle’s presence inspired the people who work on this show, a little star power and recognition brings out the best.
In the last couple of days we’ve been harvesting the products of our garden (I should really say my wife’s garden since she does all the work). We discovered San Marzano tomatoes for making a great pasta sauce but they’re only available in cans here. But the plants were available and do quite well in Nebraska. They may not taste quite the same as those from Italy but they’re so incredibly good. Rather than can the bushel or more we got from just three plants I made a base sauce where the other vegetables and herbs came from the garden as well. Only the olive oil and black pepper were purchased. And it was unbelievably good!
When I was young I hated vegetables but that’s because my mother thought the only way to cook was to boil things for hours until their consistency is paste and their taste is wallpaper paste. No wonder I didn’t like them. When I learned how to cook and discovered all the quick cooking techniques a lot of things started tasting better. But it wasn’t until getting some home-grown food that some incredible dishes can be made. Now I make everything as much from scratch as I can (not quite grinding grains yet, but maybe I will). And all these learning to appreciate food has meant a lot less trips to fast food places and junk food. I’m a long way from a good eater but finding how to get taste from food that is better for us is a good way to get better eating.
So at least for 54 kids who probably got the thrill of their life at their “state dinner” they may be eating good food at a much earlier age than I ever did. So good for you Michelle! I doubt you may a dent in the budget but you helped a lot of people.