Michelle Hosts America’s 1st White House Kids’ State Lunch
In May 2012, she threw the kids of America a “Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.” On August 20, 2012, the First Lady Michelle Obama kept her promise to host the first-ever White House Kids’ State Dinner, which featured some of the winning recipes. The 54 guests to this coveted luncheon (yes, it was a lunch, not a dinner, as is the usual White House practice), were aged 8-12 and they represented all the US States, three territories as well as the Columbia district. Each of these kids had submitted a healthy recipe to the challenge earlier this year, which had been chosen as one of the winning recipes. Although, the event was all about healthy eating, a la Michelle’s “Lets’ Move!” campaign, it was so much fun that even President Barack Obama could not resist gate-crashing in to it. Wonder why the Prez was not invited to the campaign - probably because he is known for his love of junk food?
Just to reprise what the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge was all about - kids all over the country was invited to submit their favorite healthy recipe, which was affordable and delicious at the same time. The recipe also had to follow the nutritional guidelines outlined in the MyPlate program. A panel of judges, representing the magazine Epicurious, the Departments of Education and Agriculture, and the First Lady joined heads to select the winning recipes. The Challenge was another effort from the Obamas to curb childhood obesity, spreading rampantly across the country. Michelle Obama feels that better diet and more exercise are the only two ways to tackle this menace.
Kids’ Eat At White House
The recipes submitted by the kids to the Challenge were “healthy and tasty at the same time.” In fact, the First lady declared at the event, “Your recipes truly stood out.” She told the kids, “You came up with dishes that were packed with nutritious, delicious ingredients – dishes that are good for you but more importantly they taste good, too. See? It can happen.” With these words, Michelle countered claims that healthy food is more often than not un-tasty. About the initiative, she said, “You guys inspire us here at the White House to keep doing what we need to do to keep this message at the forefront.” Some of the winning recipes also found a mention in her speech, like “Kickin’ Chicken Salad, Miss Kitty’s Egg Salad Sensation, and Power Pesto Pasta.” One ambitious kid, who wants to join the Secret Service one day, even came up with the “Secret Service Super Salad.” The First Lady announced the winning entries with all the compassion reserved for her healthy eating campaign.
Although, it is not possible to include a mention of all the winning recipes and their creators in one blog, there are quite a few mentionable kids like Haile Thomas, an 11-year-old from Tucson, Arizona. Thomas had submitted the “Quinoa, Black Bean and Corn Salad” recipe, which was liked so much by the judges that it became a part of the coveted luncheon. Thomas said about the recipe, “I was just experimenting and being creative in the kitchen. It’s just an honor. I never thought my recipe would go national.” Kyle Moore, a 12-year-old from Lebanon, Missouri, submitted the winning recipe for chicken spinach pasta, which was a result of an accidental tryst in the kitchen. He informs, “I didn’t want sandwiches for lunch one day in the summer, so I went into the kitchen to see what we had. I put them together and made chicken spinach pasta.” Kids such as Haile and Kyle are an inspiration for a nation that is finding it hard to eat and live healthy.
The Kids’ State Lunch Menu
White House Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses and Executive Chef Cris Comerford, both admitted to having learned a thing or two about cooking in a healthy manner from the winning recipes and their creators. The Kids’ State Lunch was also the first time when White House menu was created by kids, who have had no formal training in cooking. As a result, the White House chefs had a whale of a time preparing the menu, as you can see in a YouTube video given above. The menu for the event comprised of – Kale Chips; Quinoa, Black Bean & Corn Salad; Yummy Cabbage Sloppy Joes; Baked Zucchini Fries; Summer Fruit Garland, and Strawberryana Smoothie.”
Obama, The Gatecrasher
It is not for nothing that the First Lady called the event the “hottest ticket at the White House.” It was definitely the most coveted event, so much so that even the President was forced to gatecrash. After giving his wife a sheepish kiss onstage, the President addressed the kids. He said, “Usually, I get invited to state dinners. This time I had to crash because I did not want to miss out on all the fun.” He appreciated the kids for their winning recipes and also thanked them for “spreading the word about healthy eating.” About his own cooking skills, Obama admitted, “I’m an OK cook. I make a very good chili.” Well, that is one recipe, Michelle would not approve of.
The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge was a landmark event organized by the First Lady to grant impetus to her campaign to promote healthy living in the country. By getting the kids involved, she seems to have made a headway into changing the family’s mindset. So, what do you think about this event? Would you want the White House to repeat it next year too?
Image Courtesy: abcnews, zimbio