First State Dinner at Obama White House Inspired by First Lady's Garden


Photo credit: KRSPO via Flickr/Creative Commons

The Obama White House held its first official state dinner last night, for visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Thanks to input by First Lady (and First Gardener/First Locavore) Michelle Obama, the evening had a decidedly green theme.

Inspired by, and including foods from, her very successful White House garden, the event showcased "the Obamas' dedication to green and sustainable elements."


Photo credit: Ack Ook via Flickr/Creative Commons

The meal's five courses were prepared by award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson, who was named one of "The Great Chefs of America" by the Culinary Institute of America. The menu included potato and eggplant salad with White House-grown arugula, and entrees that included roasted potato dumplings with tomato chutney, chick peas and okra, or a meal of green curry prawns (more details can be found via The Globe and Mail and Washington Examiner).

Given the extremely high profile of an event like this, every choice made sends a message that's much louder than simply what the Obama's decided to have for a dessert course (a pumpkin pie tart, in a nod to the nearing Thanksgiving holiday, was one choice).

There are two big takeaways to be had from the decision to source locally: That a variety of fresh foods can be grown and otherwise obtained from local sources, even in late fall, when the typical growing season has passed; and, that these green food options can come together to create an elegant, thoughtful, tasteful meal that's fit for the President, his family, and his guests of honor. These are the sorts of events that can help transform what we know as the "local food movement" from what's considered by the world at large to be a small, niche-oriented ideal to a real lifestyle that everybody, from the President on down.

In the holiday spirit, we'll put the Obamas' support of local food and sustainable food systems on the TreeHugger list of things we're thankful for this year.

More on the Obamas and food
7 Highlights (and a Few Lowlights) in Food Since President Obama was Elected
Obamas Turn White House Organic
The White House Vegetable Garden: A Permaculture Perspective
The White House Farmers ' Market Opens to an Excited Crowd

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