With all that’s going on in the news (GM’s restructuring, the impending confirmation of the first Latina Supreme Court justice), it’s a wonder that many newspapers find the time to talk about the first family’s palates. But, they do.
After Barack and Michelle Obama were spotted grabbing a pre-Broadway dinner at Blue Hill, a restaurant that prides itself on obtaining ingredients from the nearby Hudson Valley, pieces in both The Washington Post and The New York Times popped up. The Post waxed on about how political the prez’s choices seemed to be: Meeting Washington’s Mayor Fenty at the Black-owned Ben’s Chili Bowl, grabbing lunch at the local Five Guys hamburger joint and now nodding at the sustainable and locally grown foods movement with Blue Hill.
The Times found all of Barack’s choices "disappointing" and "too pat and controlled." The newspaper argued that the Obamas chose the restaurant, not for it’s romantic setting or it’s excellent food that was prepared by an award-winning chef, but because it "summons all the correct adjectives: local, seasonal, organic, humane." In other words, Blue Hill sent the right political message.
But another writer at The Times disagreed completely, and condemned the first lady for her lack follow through in politicizing food. Although Michelle has made it clear that she wants Americans to re-think food (she planted a garden at the White House, invited children to help plant veggies and even appeared on Sesame Street to talk about locally grown food), she has also been pretty blunt about her non-love of cooking, which has irritated some (including The New York Times). The paper wrote that, "terrific local ingredients aren’t much use if people are cooking less and less; cooking is to gardening what parenting is to childbirth." Sure.