Saturday, June 5, 2010

Brother, Can you spare a dime?

I may be in the minority during these post-Deepwater Horizon days, but I still hold out hope that great achievements lie ahead for the current occupants of the White House. Faced with the utter devastation of one of our nation’s most vital ecosystems, the President is making his third trip to the area today to stay informed and see firsthand what is being done to prevent further damage and preserve whatever wildlife remains.

I read an account today of a flotilla of Louisiana chefs on a mission to assess the condition of the oyster beds they lease in the Gulf to supply their kitchens with the native bounty necessary to keep their restaurants afloat, you should pardon the pun. Needless to say, the outlook is grim. In fact, in recent weeks, many of them have ordered seafood from coastal areas to the north and east, the state of Maryland among them.

But people with a passion have a determination to succeed despite desperate conditions, and this is good news for residents of the Gulf Area and the tourists who visit there. This brings me to reveal to you the marvel I feel for those who succeed where others might fail.

I am reminded of a visit we had to the White House kitchen in 2008, while taking our son, Zack on a college tour in Washington. We were fortunate to have a private WH tour and saw many remarkable things, but what stood out the most in my mind, was the impossibly small and almost antiquated facility in which truly talented chefs create gourmet meals that impress and delight a wealth of important foreign dignitaries.

I have been known to singlehandedly produce multi-course meals for up to sixty people in my relatively small, but well-appointed and functional kitchen. I have had professional chefs prepare meals in my kitchen who are surprised to find that I have a much-needed tool or appliance on hand that they’d accidentally left behind in their own kitchens. But until you see the limited space in which our White House culinary staff operates, you cannot truly appreciate the wonder that is the banquet they turn out. Here is a picture of me with one of these magicians.

Did I mention that the kitchen is three floors below the state dining room and the only way to get the food up to our President and his few hundred guests is by dumb waiter?? Have you ever seen a dumb waiter? Remember the scene in “Home Alone 3” when the actress who plays ‘Alice’ climbs into a dumb waiter and has to curl up in a ball to fit inside? You get the idea. With all the attention the First Lady has focused on educating the public about acquiring a healthy diet and promoting the benefits of organic, sustainable foods, couldn’t we begin by providing the Leader of the Free World with a new kitchen? I say we start a campaign to raise funds for a remodel. Perhaps a nationwide school bake sale…

Next up, ‘Can a lifelong, liberal Democrat do justice to an Inaugural Dinner recipe for a Republican President?’


  1. how interesting.... i must admit that i always just assumed that the WH kitchen would be, well, exactly what you would expect it to be---fancy shmancy! with the myriad of improvements implemented by various first ladies, it seems odd that this remains so antiquated...though i DO love the idea of the obama girls stealing latenight rides in the dumbwaiter....teeheehee....don't let gramma catch you!

  2. Oval Office - Oschoval office - you got the right tour!

  3. You are a "Kitchen Magician" yourself.
    I see lots of stainless steal in the W.H. kitchen. Now all they need are some granite countertops. Sign me up for the bake sale or just send me some of your yummy treats!!! Rikki

  4. yes, but would it have a chandelier??
    sorry, you know i couldn't resist.....

  5. Every kitchen deserves a does every bathroom...and well, just about every room, especially in the WH! Thanks for outing me "Anonymous".