Michelle Obama’s Cookbook

So here’s Michelle Obama on the cover of her cookbook, forthcoming in April:

And here are the ingredients for a Michelle Obama recipe:

Michelle Obama’s “No Cream” Creamed Spinach

2 pounds baby spinach, washed and cleaned

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 shallots, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Here’s a picture of Martha Washington from the National Portrait Gallery:

And here are the ingredients for a Martha Washington recipe:

Martha Washington’s Cake Recipe (makes an 11 pound cake)

2 3/4 cups golden raisins
2 cups dried currants
1 cup orange zest
6 ounces candied lemon peel
3/4 cup chopped candied citron
1/3 cup candied angelica
1/3 cup red candied cherries
1/3 cup green candied cherries
1/2 cup brandy
4 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
10 eggs, separated
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup sherry
1 cup sherry

Yeah, so cooking has changed a bit since Mrs. Washington’s day. I don’t, however, understand why creamed spinach has to be made with no cream. Cream is wonderful and goes wonderfully well with spinach! So if that recipe is any indication of what’s going to be in the book, I’m nervous.


I’m nervous that the press release says this:

“Mrs. Obama will describe how her daughters Sasha and Malia were catalysts for change in her own family’s eating behavior…

because Mr. Obama already once said this:

“A couple of years ago — you’d never know it by looking at her now — Malia was getting a little chubby.”

and because more than once I’ve heard something like this:

“My [6, 7, 8, 9] year old was talking about ‘fat’ and ‘obesity’ and worrying about what we were eating…because of something she heard Michelle Obama say.”

I’m really glad that Michelle Obama started the first edible garden on the White House grounds since Eleanor Roosevelt’s WWII victory garden. And I’m glad that she is working to bring attention to and eradicate food ‘deserts.’

no, not desserts. deserts.)

But this book, quite honestly, looks like it’s going to be a pretty coffee-table piece of political advertising, not a cookbook that’s going to inspire a new food culture.

{And I hope it’s not going to add to the fat anxiety already too prevalent in this culture.}

Well, that’s enough speculative judgment on a book I haven’t read. (!)

Anyway, change never comes from the top down. It starts where the inspiration for this book came from anyway–at the grassroots.

As in, next spring, why not pull the grass up by the roots and plant some strawberries or potatoes or lettuce instead? Forget the obesity epidemic: gardening is joyful work.

{Oh, and forgive me, but do those hair-scrolls atop Mrs. Obama’s head remind you of the ribbons on Mrs. Washington’s cap? They do me–HT Sarah–tee-hee.}

One thought on “Michelle Obama’s Cookbook

  1. I’ve subscribed to Cooking Light magazine on and off for years, and I remember how happy I was when the editors decided that real cream and real butter do have a place in their recipes. I’m sure the spinach is delicious, but it sounds like sautéed spinach, not creamed! I admire Mrs. Obama for her intent and effort, but agree that I’m not sure it’s going to be a change catalyst, for all the reasons you cite. Plus, whenever I see photos of her working in her garden, she’s doing it alongside White House staff and volunteers. One of the reasons I don’t have a veggie garden (besides too many critters and not enough sun in my yard) is that the physical labor was too much for me to do alone.

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