Sampling a peach at Kroger's Supermarket in Bristol, VA (July 2009).
Do I dare to eat a peach?
Thanks to this man, I can proudly say, "Yes!"
Exactly one year ago today, the very first African American was elected President of the United States. On that day, the universe, and our consciousness, shifted (and my heart soared to the stars and beyond). A President born in Hawai'i? Surely now anything is possible.
photo source: Obama Foodorama. Sounds absolutely delicious to me: chock full of great Hawaiian-y ingredients like coconut, pineapple and macadamia nuts!
Wanted to point you to this great blog post about Carol McManus, owner of Espresso Love in Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard. Carol's Obama Muffin has been getting worldwide media attention ever since its debut in August, and the story of how a bankrupt single mother of five decided to open a small coffee/breakfast treats café on a strong hunch is indeed inspiring. Espresso Love is highly popular with the locals and many famous people have dropped in, like Robert DeNiro. "Are you lookin' at me, or my muffin?" ☺
Carol recently published a très cool cookbook, Table Talk (Vineyard Stories, 2008). The focus is on encouraging families to eat together, and engaging children in the cooking process. A former academic teacher, Carol now gives cooking lessons to local seventh and eighth graders. The book is brimming with simple recipes, gorgeous photos of island life, and of course, interesting quotes and snippets.
I don't know about you, but I can't wait to bake those Obama muffins!
♥ Click here to read all the 2009 Fall for Restaurants posts.
I know you'll be busy watching the inaugural ceremony and parade on TV and all, but NOW HEAR THIS: in order to properly celebrate this momentous occasion, this defining moment, this day when America turns on its axis -- there is one thing you absolutely have-tuh do:
That's right! As I mentioned when I posted his recipe awhile back, chili is Barack's favorite thing to cook. It makes perfect sense, too -- an easy crowd pleaser, infinitely adaptable whether you're a carnivore or vegetarian. Everyman's food.
There is one thing, though: Barack's chili (pictured above with ground beef), is surprisingly bland. No salt or tomato sauce was listed in the recipe ingredients. I know there are as many kinds of chili as there are people, but I did think the omission of salt was strange. Maybe that's why he's President and not a professional chef!
Anyway, it doesn't matter whether you doctor up Barack's recipe, use your own, open up a can, or grab a bowl of the stuff at your favorite restaurant -- just as long as you eat some (over rice). Yes, it's your civic duty!
And for dessert, indulge in some of this special Ben and Jerry's ice cream, renamed just for the month of January in honor of Barack Obama. It's available in scoop shops around the country -- "amber waves of buttery ice cream with roasted non-partisan pecans." All proceeds from its sale goes to the Common Cause Education Fund.
Just last week, Barack was spotted at Ben's Chili Bowl in D.C. (see video).
The Obamas visiting the U.S.S. Arizona last year. So, the past few days I've been wondering something.
When orator extraordinaire Barack Obama is in Hawai'i, does he ever speak any Pidgin? I mean, can you imagine him saying something like:
Ho, dis haupia cake broke da mout! We go holoholo bumbai. No can.
It's hard to imagine, but I tend to think he must speak some Pidgin when he's with old friends. I haven't lived in Hawai'i for 30+ years, and I never speak Pidgin here in Virginia, yet whenever I'm back home visiting family and friends, I naturally begin to shorten my phrases and assume that unmistakable Pidgin "accent." It's in my DNA, and I think it's in Barack's, too. Len wholly disagrees, citing that Barack is too conscious of his public image to utter so much as a syllable in Pidgin, since the press would pick up on every word he says.
He's been helping me polish up my speech making skills.
I'm going to carry him with me at all times -- in my pocket or my handbag.
So far, he's very well behaved, and I feel smarter just having him around. He can't make his own chili, though.
*If you haven't yet seen the amazing collection of finger puppets at the UPG, go here. Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson are all available, as well as loads of other cool personalities from the world of art, literature, history, and politics.
~This is the sixth in a series of posts about Presidential Food
"Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are." ~ Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (lawyer, author, epicure)
Shave ice of many flavors
Flanked by the ladies in Hawai'i this past summer. Right about now, all five White House chefs are probably wondering what's going to be on the menu for the next four years.
Will they have to brush up on their Chicago pizza skills? Import bags of poi from Hawai'i? Or will they be asked to serve their culinary creations on green plates?
Barack's Pizza Policy: vegetarian
Regular readers of this blog (all three of you) know that I'm a strong believer in the old adage, "you are what you eat." When it comes to food in the White House, each First Family has brought something distinct to the table -- not only with regard to what is served, but how it's served. There is nothing more revealing of personality than one's style of entertaining.
"Nothing helps scenery like ham and eggs." ~ Mark Twain
Who me? Talk about politics?
I'd rather eat liver.
But there's no escaping it. I tried to buy some bacon the other day, and the checkout girl asked if I had foreign policy experience. Okay, not really, but I've inhaled so much political hot air that sometimes I feel like I'm going to explode.
Oinkety oink oink!
What a tough campaign -- people are apt to say anything just to get elected. Spin on top of spin can make a body ravenous for some meaningful sustenance. That's why today I'm serving up some ham ham ham.
Whether you like your eggs on the left or right side of your plate, or are desperately trying to find a good spot in the middle, it's wise to chew slowly, so you don't choke on all the rhetoric.
Just remember: if all else fails, vote for Porky!
EXQUISITE CANDIDATE by Denise Duhamel and Maureen Seaton
I can promise you this: food in the White House will change! No more granola, only fried eggs flipped the way we like them. And ham ham ham! Americans need ham! Nothing airy like debate for me! Pigs will become the new symbol of glee, displacing smiley faces and "Have a Nice Day."
The lovely Tricia, of The Miss Rumphius Effect, is our Poetry Friday hostess today. I wonder if she has any mustard to go with all this ham?
If you'd like to see what the next president of the United States recently had for breakfast, watch this. He's been my choice from the beginning, and I sincerely hope you vote for him, too. Bring on the debates!
This tempting blend of water, navy beans, onions, ham hocks, celery, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper, has nourished our congressional leaders for over a hundred years. Big bipartisan pots of this soup simmer in all 11 Capitol dining room kitchens even as we speak!
Who started it? Well, you know how it is. Whenever there's something good, politicians fight to take credit. But Joseph G. Cannon, U.S. Speaker of the House (1903-1911) seems the most likely culprit. He apparently entered the dining room one day, looked at the menu, and sputtered: "Thunderation, I had my mouth set for bean soup! From now on, hot or cold, rain, snow or shine, I want it on the menu every day." And so it has been, ever since, with its virtues extolled by the likes of President Gerald Ford, Representative Sonny Bono, and Senator Bob Dole.
I'm so glad Speaker Cannon had his little tirade. Years ago, I ate this soup in the Senate Dining Room with Senator Sparky Matsunaga (1916-1990) of Hawaii. "Sparky," as he was fondly known, always invited visitors from Hawaii to lunch, sometimes reserving two or three tables at a time. We (my mom, dad, and about four other guests), sat at a round table with the senator, who cautioned us about the dangers of tannins in tea.
A veteran of WWII (Bronze Star and Purple Heart), Sparky sought redress for interned Japanese Americans, and was instrumental in passing legislation for civil rights, space exploration, renewable energy resources, and most notably, for the establishment of the U.S. Institute for Peace. Himself a poet, who wrote haiku while hunkered down in Italian foxholes, Sparky also authored legislation to create the position of Poet Laureate of the United States. He told us he only slept about 3 hours a night. Then he promptly removed the teabag from his cup to avoid any bitter aftertaste.
Could he have accomplished all this without bean soup?
Consider what Senator Everett Dirksen (R-IL), once said in his Homage toBeans:
There is much to be said for the succulent little bean -- any kind of bean, be it kidney, navy, green, wax, Kentucky, chili, baked, pinto, Mexican, or any other kind. Not only is it high in nourishment, but is particularly rich in that nutritious value referred to as protein -- the stuff that imparts energy and drive to the bean eater and particularly the senators who need this sustaining force when they prepare for a long speech on the Senate floor.
Now, the man pictured above has served in the U.S. Senate since 2004. Chances are good that he's already eaten his fair share of bean soup. He has also helped out in soup kitchens. But the campaign trail is rigorous and demanding, so leguminous reinforcements are probably in order. Then he'll definitely be ready for the big job. Soup is served at all official dinners at the White House, be it turtle, clam, corn, potato, or squash. When it's his turn, he'll be able to serve visiting dignitaries, and the entire nation, a hearty soup for change.
He'll follow in the footsteps of FDR, who loved crab soup with a splash of sherry; Dwight Eisenhower, who made his own vegetable soup with nasturtium stems; JFK and Jimmy Carter, who always ordered soup for lunch; Ronald Reagan, who loved hamburger soup with hominy; George H.W. Bush, who liked New England clam chowder; and Bill Clinton, who favored vegetable beef.
Think about it. Soup might just be the only thing Republicans and Democrats can ever agree on. And with the way things are going now, we need a President who is way full of beans.
What can you do? Make this soup as often as possible. Invite friends over to discuss the issues, and then vote for the candidate of your choice. Hopefully one day Capitol Hill will amount to more than a hill of beans, without all the gas.
U.S. CAPITOL BEAN SOUP (serves 6-8 people)
1 pound dry white beans, soaked overnight 1 meaty ham bone, or 2 smoked ham hocks 3 quarts water 3 onions, finely chopped 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 4 stalks celery, with leaves, finely chopped 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped salt and pepper to taste
Garnish: minced parsley or chives
Strain the water from the soaked beans and put in a big pot with 3 quarts of water and the ham bone or hocks. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours.
Stir the chopped vegetables and herbs into the pot, and cook over low heat for another hour until the beans are nicely tender.
Remove the bones from the pot, cut off the meat into small bits, and return the meat to the pot, discarding the bones.
When ready to serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with pinches of herbs.
TIP: Flavor enhanced if soup is eaten while watching Oprah.
(Thanks to Pat Solley at soupsong.com for the recipe and delicious political tidbits!)