What’s Cooking in Kenya? Ugali, Sukuma Wiki, and the Food of Barack Obama’s Father’s Childhood …

"When two locusts fight, it is always the crow who feasts." Nigerian saying quoted in Barack Obama's Dreams of My Father An article in The Times of London stated that Barack Obama's Kenyan family, members of the Luo group, to celebrate his presidential election victory, slaughtered four bulls, sixteen chickens, and a number of sheep…

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Breaking: State Dinner Menu Released

Potato and Eggplant Salad White House Arugula w/ Onion Seed Vinaigrette 2008 Savingnon Blanc, Modus Operandi, Napa Valley Red Lentil Soup w Fresh Cheese 2006 Riesling, Brooks "Ara", Wilamette Valley Roast Potato Dumplings w Tomato Chutney Chick Peas and Okra or Green Curry Prawns w caramelized Salsify w smoke Collard Greens and coconut aged basmati…

Feasting in State: Obama’s First Real State Dinner

In the next week, we will see real-time examples of a few of the different types of feasts common to American culture: Thanksgiving --- essentially a harvest feast tinged with overtones of cultural identity --- and President Barack Obama’s first true State Dinner, to be held on November 24, 2009 for India’s Prime Minister Manmohan…

Lobster Bisque and Striped Bass à la President Barack Obama

On February 24, 2009, President Barack Obama lunched on lobster bisque and striped bass, along with TV anchors due to report on his "state of the nation" speech. Very interesting was a brief mention of the Obamas' "family dinners": He cherishes family dinner in the White House, where "thorns and roses" is now the favorite…

The Willard Hotel, and a Near Brush with Obama’s Motorcade

See all photos (unedited) by clicking HERE: Last night's dinner at the historic Willard Hotel almost didn't happen because as we walked down 15th St., we couldn't cross the street because the police had cordoned off the street to await the Obama motorcade's passing through on the way to Blair House. But at one point…

At the Edge of Change: Blogging Live From Washington, DC and the Inauguration of President Barack Obama

Starting tomorrow, after tonight's dinner at the Willard Hotel, "Gherkins & Tomatoes" will share every tiny crumb possible with readers about G&T's food experiences during the inaugural frenzy in Washington, DC. A most pressing concern is how to get some food into the VIP area for the Swearing-In ceremony on Tuesday, January 20, 2009. It…

Inaugural Luncheon 2009: Menu and Details

According to an e-mail from the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, the 2009 Inaugural Luncheon looks like this. Note that recipes are also included; click for a .pdf file of the recipes. Around 200 guests will attend this exclusive luncheon in Statuary Hall. Design Cuisine, a top-flight caterer in Washington, designed the menu, which…

All the Presidents’ Tables: Ex-Presidents Dine with President Obama

From a White House press release, January 7, 2009: PRESIDENT BUSH: I want to thank the President-elect for joining the ex-Presidents for lunch. And one message that I have and I think we all share is that we want you to succeed. Whether we're Democrat or Republican, we care deeply about this country. And to…

BREAKING: Vilsack is the New Agriculture Secretary

Not a real victory for the petition signers and Michael Pollan advocates ... Tom Vilsack, former Iowa governor. In the words of Jill Richardson: "After his own presidential campaign floundered, Vilsack backed Hillary Clinton in the primary, but has recently been campaigning for Obama. One of Obama's top campaign strategists, David Axelrod, also ran Vilsack's…

Secretary of Agriculture: Still moot but …

The Associated Press released the following names on December 16, 2008 as contenders for President Barack Obama's Secretary of Agriculture. For more about each of these people, see my post with biographical blurbs. Dennis Wolff, Pennsylvania agriculture secretary. Tom Buis, president of National Farmers Union. Former Rep. Charles Stenholm, D-Texas. Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, D-S.D. Former…

Alice Waters: The Woman Behind the Throne? (Or, Um, The Push for White House Chef)

Alice Waters. Chef. Restaurateur. Cookbook author. Agricultural activist. Now add political activist to the list, too. Stir well. See what cooks up. Since 1971, Ms. Waters has overseen the stove and tables at her celebrated and innovative Berkeley, California restaurant, Chez Panisse. She's the force behind the Edible Schoolyard program that "demonstrates the transformative power…

Obama’s “Secretary of Food”: An Idea Whose Time has Come, Thanks to Nicholas Kristof

In the his December 10, 2008 column in The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof states that the name of the department responsible for food and agriculture in the United States should be called the Department of Food. His reasoning is that only 2 percent of the American population actually farms, but 100 percent eats. Good…

Obama’s Secretary of Agriculture: The Saga Continues

John Salazar? Is a potato farmer. With strong ties to corporate agriculture. The blogging world, at least those interested in who might take over the reins at the USDA (see Mark Bittman of the New York Times on this issue), think that maybe John Salazar of Colorado might be the pick. La Vida Locavore, in…

BREAKING: Short List for Obama’s Agriculture Secretary

The short list of three names includes Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, Charles Stenholm, and Dennis Wolff. See an earlier post of this topic: Obama's Agriculture Secretary: Who Should It Be? According to an announcement in The Washington Post, each of the candidates has numerous strengths and weaknesses. These names do not make the sustainable agriculture…

Obama, the Cookbook

I knew it would happen. An Obama cookbook, or rather, an Obama Foodie book. After all, a guy's got to eat, right? Even if he is the President of the United States. Steven Black is writing a book about Obama food. Who is Steven Black? Let him tell his own story: Stephen Black has worked…

In the Kitchen in Kansas … The Food of Obama’s Mother’s Childhood

There's No Place Like Home ... ~~ Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz Kansas is flat, real flat. Yes. And President Barack Obama's green leaf of choice, arugula, clocks in pretty low on Kansans' list of comestibles. But none of this means that President Obama doesn't love Kansas and especially its wholesome, comforting food. That said,…

Obama’s Secretary of Agriculture: Who Should It Be?

As a food-obsessed person, I am interested in more than just who will be President Barack Obama's White House chef --- I also eagerly await his announcement for his pick for Secretary of Agriculture. In certain circles, people are speculating about who will head up the USDA. George W. Bush has had three different agriculture…

Barack Obama Takes the Cake, 1240 Cupcakes, That Is

Maybe a little late in the game, but I just learned of this amazing political food art --- this is a form of history along the lines of ice carvings and other such things: President-elect Barack Obama in cupcakes. Zilly Rosen of Zillycakes in Buffalo, New York created this stunning mosaic of Obama to celebrate…

BARACK OBAMA’S CHILI AND JOHN McCAIN’S RIBS

Barack Obama's reply to a reporter who asked him in March 2008 what was his favorite dish to take a potluck: Chili. He said that, "I've been using this chili recipe since college and would bring it to any potluck. I can't reveal all the secrets, but if you make it right, it's just got…