Barack Obama’s dinner menu
2016-06-13 21:09:00 Primitive Reading

 Barack and Michelle Obama’s state dinners encapsulate the chaos and information overload of the 2010s. Both were foodies and frequent patrons of the Chicago and D.C. restaurant scenes, and few presidents and first ladies had ever experimented so boldly with the state dinner formula. Unlike previous administrations, their state dinner menus share almost nothing in common with one another, skipping merrily between styles.
For a May 13, 2016, state dinner honoring Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland, Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford created a multicourse tribute to New Nordic cuisine with an American twist. Chicken and waffles and venison tartare with truffle vinaigrette somehow occupied the same menu space. Because New Nordic emphasizes locally foraged ingredients, one canapé even consisted of baby radishes impaled on pieces of wood from a tree in the White House backyard.
Not even the chefs stayed constant—an unprecedented move in the White House. The celebrity chefs Marcus Samuelsson, Rick Bayless, Anita Lo, and Mario Batali each had a turn in the White House kitchen. Bayless, a Chicago chef associated with various Mexican restaurants, was recruited to prepare the state dinner honoring Mexican President Felipe Calderón on May 19, 2010. Calderón was served herb green ceviche of Hawaiian opah, Oregon wagyu beef in Oaxacan black mole, black bean tamalon, grilled green beans, a sesame-cilantro cracker, and a jicama salad with oranges, grapefruit, and pineapple and citrus vinaigrette. Dessert consisted of a chocolate-cajeta tart, toasted homemade marshmallows, graham cracker crumble, and goat cheese ice cream. Not a single dish—including the grilled green beans—was included on another state dinner menu.

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