Michelle Obama takes UN spouses on farm-to-table tour to promote healthy eatingBy Jocelyn Noveck, AP
Friday, September 24, 2010
Michelle Obama hosts UN spouses at NY farm
POCANTICO HILLS, N.Y. — First lady Michelle Obama gave her healthy eating initiative a global showcase Friday when she welcomed spouses of world leaders to tour a farm north of New York City, then treated them to a seasonal lunch featuring bounty from the farm and the White House garden.
The spouses, who came from places as diverse as Cameroon, Mongolia, Swaziland and Latvia, toured the Stone Barns Center about 25 miles north of New York, which is both a farm and an educational center working on sustainable farming — a cause close to the first lady’s heart.
And it shares the premises with one of the most renowned restaurants in the New York area, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, where the women lunched on sungold tomatoes from the White House Kitchen Garden, eggs harvested minutes earlier from the farm’s chickens, and chicken with eggplant and ratatouille — also from the White House garden.
Addressing the spouses, Mrs. Obama, wearing an appropriately floral-and foliage-themed print dress, emphasized the importance of children learning directly about the food they eat. Also participating in the day’s events were third-graders from two local schools, who helped prepare the lunch by harvesting eggs and collecting herbs.
“Many kids may never learn that ketchup comes from a tomato and french fries from a potato,” Mrs. Obama said. “Because they’re disconnected from the food they eat.”
And speaking of tomatoes, the first lady related a story about how daughter Sasha had been a tomato-phobe — until she made her own tomato, mozzarella and pesto sandwich in a cooking class at school. “Do you know those hair tomatoes?” she asked her mother, referring to heirloom tomatoes, Mrs. Obama recounted. “Now THOSE are good tomatoes!”
Now, Mrs. Obama said, Sasha is a fan. “We can do that with our children,” she added.
The day’s meal was prepared by the restaurant’s top chef and co-owner, Dan Barber, as well as three White House chefs who flew up for the occasion: Cristeta Comerford, Bill Yosses and Sam Kass, who is active in the first lady’s anti-obesity initiative.
The spouses were serenaded by a string quartet from the Juilliard School in New York City as they ate.
And yes, of course there was and appropriately healthy dessert: Red jacket apricots, accompanied by “White House honey sorbet.”