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Michelle Obama's gifts to UN spouses; lunch details. Pool reports. Transcript

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transcript at the end...


White House Correspondent and US Bureau chief



Upon her arrival, in this idyllic setting, your foreign pooler was welcomed this by the Secret services, geese and chicken.

39 spouses of Heads of government were invited by The First Lady in this beautiful Connecticut farm, The Stone Barns center for Food and Agriculture , 25 Miles north of New York city.

Among other interesting things, especially for your French Pooler, we learned from The Stone Barns P.R that <>

At 11:35am the First Lady arrived and welcomed one by one all of the spouses. She was wearing a beautiful black and green silk dress with purple flowers designed by Tracy Feith a californer designer.
One by one she greeted her guests and had a few words for each of them in English. She kissed each of them on both cheeks. When she saw Chantal Biya, the flamboyant first lady from the Republic of Cameroon she had a big smile and said in French, "oh bonjour!" Chantal Biya had on huge black heels with a Chanel purple suit and flamboyant red hair.

To those who seemed shy in front of your pool like the First lady from Laos, who gently greeted the First lady with a big smile, asked them to look at the White house photographer Chik Kennedy. With the Haitian first lady she spoke in Englih and smiled when Mrs. Preval told her "you look stunning." The First Lady seemed very happy and asked her to do a nice picture with Chuck saying, <>

Spouses were from The African Union Commission, Albania, Andorra, Bangladesh, Cameroon , Columbia, Congo, Ivorian Coast, Cyprus, Dominican Republic and Commonwealth, Estonia, Ethiopia, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Latvia, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Namibia, Nauru, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Palau, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and The Grenadines, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Turkey, Uganda, United Nations, and Vanuatu.

But only a few of them went for the chicken tour which began at 11:35am

The First lady spend most of the the times with The first lady of Turkey, the only veiled woman along . She was also closed to the Haitian First Lady, Mrs. Preval.

They looked amused by the chickens and the 10 kids from JFK magnet school who were grabbing fresh eggs from the chicken house in which the expression, "coo coo ca chee" was written on the wall. They paused a few moments then walked to the chicken lot in which one of the animals were looking at the feet of the press. An other one was taking a dusk bath.

The First lady went there with the Turkish one who always stayed close to her in front of the photographers.

The fisrt lady spoke with the manager then helped a lttle girl to grab fresh eggs. Jessia Goudino 8 (years and a half told the poolers that The first lady told her she was pretty.

The girl later said "I was nervous because a chicken had bitten me."

A local reporter asked her<< did Mrs. Obama save you from getting bitten?>>. Jessica answered <>.

The next stop was the tomato field without the press. Your pooler saw on the hill the same group and Mrs. Obama talking mainly with Mrs. Preval the Haitian one.

Mrs Preval told your pooler in French "We spoke together abour agriculture, and how to teach our kids how they should appreciate vegetables and eat healthy."

She told me how she realized that if kids are closer to nature, they learn how to eat well.

Then the group came back for the herbs. In front of the cameras they drank herbal teas and again the First Lady was close to the veiled Turkish woman.

When we asked her how the day was, Michelle Obama answer with a smile:<< good>>

At 1:00pm they went to the dining room. A small orchestra was playing music.

2nd foreign pool report...

Small correction from the first pool report : The correct name of the White House Photographer is CHUCK Kennedy

Here the second part from Connecticut

There were six tables inside the dining room.

At the First lady's table: On her left again Gul Hayrunnisa the veiled Turkish First lady, on her right Ingrid Schulerud the First Lady of Norway Also : The first ladies of Estonia, St Lucia, Honduras and Latvia and David barber the brother of Dan Berber the Executive chef of Blue Hell the restaurant .

The first lady did a short speech. Main points:
<<-My goal is to use the simple tools we have to engage children in a conversation about their health and nutrition.
-Our goal is to insure children know how to eat in a healthy way.
-We need to improve access to communities to get them access to fresh products.
- We have to make sure our kids are more active and we have to find a way for kids to move.>>

She confided how << Sasha my daughter discovered fresh and wonderful tomatoes...

She made a sandwich and pesto with new fresh tomatoes. She loves now tomatoes>>.

The Menu as written is : Summer fruits and Vegetables, White house sun golds, homemade yogurt,purslane paired with Pinot blanc, This morning's Farm egg, 5 late summer beans from The White House and our house paired with REd Hook winery Chardonnay, Stone Barns pastured chicken ,White House herbs, eggplant ratatouille paired with CopainPinot Noir and Sacher cake, Red Jacket apricots, White House honey sorbet.

No first husband was present for this morning's event and meal.

And all those ladies are leaving now to go back to New York City .

White House Correspondent and US Bureau chief

Canal + I tele

From Marian Burros.....

First Lady arrived at stone barns, center for food and agriculture farm in Westchester before 11 am and as the first guest s arrived, the sun came out , highlighting the early auutmn colors in the trees. The turkeys had already been moved from their customary location in order to greet the arriving guest.s

At 11:30 flotus began to greet her guest, about 32 spouses of heads of state who had been attending the UN meeting in NY.

All were advised to wear farm friendly clothing ; not many complied: there were more than a few with five inch heels.. Everyone got a European style greeting, a kiss on both cheeks. She lingered with those she knew, chatting longer with some than others (pool couldn't hear most of it)

Elisabreth D Preval got a particularly effusive greeting To Ban Soon -tack, wife of Ban Kee Moon sec gen of the United Nationsa, she said effusively "You made it.", talking about how much she enjoyed the reception the previous evening

The women were divided into four groups.. Mrs Obama's group went directly to the chickens whose eggs were being gathererd by third graders from a local elementaty school, part of the center's education program to teach them about the relationship of farms and what they eat.

Both she and Mrs. Preval helped the children gather the eggs from the R I reds laying hens .

According to the livestock manager Mrs. Obama asked interesting questions and seemed to know about where chickens sleep, in the wooden egg mobiles, aka chicken coops..

Her group then went on to the vegetable garden while the pool was hustled off to the herb garden, her next stop. .

Flotus said the herb garden was "the best smelling part of the farm." (Pool unable to hear much of anything she said.)

She sampled some of the herbs nd told her group that the children were picking the herbs for their lunch She sampled the herb tea .

Lunch began with aperitifs on the terrace overlooking the vegetable garden. In her remarks preceding the lunch Mrs. Obama said that the chef owner of Stone Barns restaurant, had cooked for her and the then president elect Nov 08, a dinner she described as "one of the best meal I ever had. "

Lunch was served with three wines, two from New York state, one from Califronia and included ingredients from the White house garden.

To start Summer fruit and vegetables followed by This Morning's Farm Egg, Stone Barns pastured chicken

Dessert: Sacher torte.


below, from the White House.....


The presentation of gifts to visiting foreign dignitaries is a time-honored tradition that helps transcend cultural barriers and offers a symbol of peace and friendship.
In honor of the 65th anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly, First Lady Michelle Obama has assembled an assortment of gifts that reflect her past 20 months in the White House. The White House Kitchen
Garden, which provides the Obama family and White House guests with delicious fresh produce, is the central theme behind this year's gift

A special recipe of pickled, hand-picked ingredients from the White House Kitchen Garden, including sun gold tomatoes, okra, cucumbers, chocolate bell peppers, carrots, lemon verbena, and fresh herbs are presented in jars with the First Lady's signature. The jars are topped with original artwork done by California artists, Michael Cronan and Karin Hibma, who were inspired by a photo of Mrs. Obama tending to the garden with children and a wheelbarrow.
Chamomile seeds were harvested from the White House Kitchen Garden for the first time this year and are being shared by Mrs. Obama. Also included in the gift is an off-white clay Tea Canister hand-made by Virginia potter Catherine White, whose work is inspired by the varied landscapes of nature.

A three-wick soy candle is an original design from the Chesapeake Bay Candle company, based in Rockville, Maryland. The relief on the candle was inspired by a photograph of the frieze, an oak leaf and rose garland, which hangs above the North Portico of the White House. Our national tree and flower, the oak tree and rose, symbolize strength and compassion.

The candle is presented in a custom-made box in a brilliant shade of shimmery sky blue with a silver imprint of The White House on two sides, also designed by Chesapeake Bay Candle. Details on top of the box are taken from the frieze and the lid is secured by a caramel-colored band affixed to a decorative pewter medallion, an exact replica which is a part of the oak and rose garland on the candle. Each gift is presented inside a one-of-a-kind, hand woven basket made of Maplewood harvested in the Midwest by The Longaberger Company, which is a family-owned and operated American company that has been in business for over 100 years. Each basket is lined with a khaki canvas insert. A nickel tag is affixed to the outside of each bag and engraved with the words, "Made Exclusively for Michelle Obama


Office of the First Lady


For Immediate Release September 24, 2010



Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Tarrytown, New York

12:51 P.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA: Well, good afternoon. I hope you all enjoyed the tours. It's a beautiful, beautiful place.

I want to start by thanking a few people. Of course I want to thank Jill Isenbarger who is right over there. Jill, thank you so much for all your hard work. (Applause.) And also to the entire Stone Barns Center staff, everyone here who has helped make this morning, this day, a very special one. Let's give them a hand. (Applause.)

And we wouldn't be here if it weren't for the Rockefeller family. This is their home, and they have put a lot of love and energy into making this center such a special one. And we want to thank them, as well. (Applause.)

And of course to Dan Barber and his brother, David. Dan is the executive chef here. Is that your title? Yeah, well, he's the head cook guy. (Laughter and applause.) And I have to say that Dan -- I met Dan before we came to the White House. And he actually cooked for my husband and I, and he didn't know why he was being called to Chicago, but it was one of the best dinners, and after that I fell in love with Dan, I knew that we would want to partner with him if we had the opportunity. He is serving on the President's Fitness and Nutrition Council, so he's one of the major players in our efforts to encourage healthier living around the country. So I want to thank Dan for all you're doing. We love you very much. You're doing a great job. (Applause.)

And those cute little precious people that were out there, the third graders, they are terrific. They come from Pocantico Hill School here in the area and JFK Magnet School. And I know that this facility is known for its educational component. Having those kids out there wasn't anything new. They really rely on young people to keep this facility up, to learn and grow from it, and you can see, by the excitement on their faces, that it's working. So we want to thank all those students for just being so eager. And they also helped to prepare the lunch, so they're our chefs, as well.

And last but not least, I want to thank and introduce you to some of our -- the most important people in the President and my family's life, are the people who feed us. We have today with us Cris Comerford, who's our executive chef at the White House, Bill Yosses, who's our executive pastry chef, and Sam Kass, who's a chef, as well, but he also wears a policy hat, and he has been working on the "Let's Move" initiative. So let's give them a round of applause. They flew here to help cook, as well. (Applause.) We love them, we're very proud of the work that they're doing.

These chefs are among the thousands that are volunteering to work in schools to try to help schools do a better job of figuring out how to make their school lunch meals a little tastier and healthier. And our chefs have adopted a school, and they're leading the way, and it's going to be very exciting to see the work that they do. Thank you all so much.

This all started -- why we're here -- many of you probably know me as a gardener because when I first came into the White House, we developed the White House kitchen garden, which was probably one of the first since Eleanor Roosevelt. And we didn't know whether we could even grow anything on that plot of land.

But we began to grow some wonderful things, and we worked closely with students in the Washington, D.C. area. They helped us every step of the way. They helped us till the soil. They helped us plant. They helped us harvest. They helped us eat. And what we learned from the mere planting of that garden was that we could use this simple tool to engage children in a conversation about their own health and nutrition. And that experience led us to develop one of the strongest initiatives that I have, one that I'm very proud of. It's called "Let's Move."

"Let's Move" is a national-wide campaign -- a nationwide campaign -- to focus our country on the epidemic of childhood obesity. Our goal is to ensure that children born today grow up at a healthy weight, understanding how to eat and live in a healthy way. And we're working with kids because oftentimes it's easier for them to develop new habits than it is for us to try to change old habits as they get older.

And with this initiative, we're trying to do a number of things. We're trying to provide parents with better information. We want to get family physicians involved in really screening and checking children for obesity, and helping them very early on figuring out ways to prevent it and deal with it. We're trying to improve access in communities. Many communities in this country don't have sufficient access to fresh produce and healthy living. That's why Stone Barns is so important, because many of these kids may never learn that ketchup comes from a tomato, or that French fries actually come from a potato, because they're very disconnected from the food that they eat. So we're trying to improve that.

We're also trying to -- there's a physical education component to this, and we're working to ensure that our kids are more active. We have become a very sedentary society in so many ways, with computers and the Internet, and sometimes it's not safe for kids to play in their own communities, so we have to find ways for our kids to actually move.

But one of the more important components is the school education piece. Children are getting a lot of their calories in school and they're getting most of their information about how to eat from their schools.

And again this is why Stone Barns Center is so important. It is an example of what can be done with local businesses, local farms, and neighborhood schools, of the kind of energy that comes from children having a hands-on experience on the farm. And when they grow it and they touch it and they taste it, they believe in it more than anything that we could tell them.

And I've seen this in my own child. I told the story to Dan. Sasha -- now, we have wonderful tomatoes grown on the White House Garden. Sasha doesn't like tomatoes -- or so she says -- not until she took a cooking class at her school and made a tomato-pesto-basil-mozzarella sandwich.

So she comes home and she says, Mom, have you ever heard of these "hair" potatoes -- tomatoes? And I was like, what are you -- are you talking about heirloom tomatoes? She says, yeah, that's it. She said, now those are good tomatoes. (Laughter.) I was like, you eat those everyday. No, these were different, Mom. These were different. (Laughter.)

And the point is, is that, yeah, it was different for her because it was her discovery. It wasn't something that her mother was telling her to do. She had discovered it. She made the sandwich. She made the pesto. And it was good. And now she's a fan of tomatoes. We can do that with our children.

So I want to thank you all not just for coming, but I know many of you here are focused on this issue in your own countries, and that's the thing that it's important for the media to understand. Childhood obesity is not just an American challenge. As I talk to these spouses, I'm understanding that we're seeing -- many of you are seeing these same issues in your own countries. And you're working very hard on nutrition and education. And my hope is that we can continue to partner and have conversations so that this local campaign becomes a national conversation in so many ways.

So I thank you all for your leadership on this issue. Thank you all for taking the time to spend this afternoon focused on an issue that is near and dear to me. I am always grateful for your friendship and your kindness. It makes these gatherings even more special, to be able to share these ideas and to share in fellowship and toast and all that good stuff.

So thank you all. And it is my pleasure now to introduce you to Dan Barber who will tell you more about the programs here. And then we get to eat.

So thank you so much. And Dan, you have the floor. (Applause.)

END 1:00 P.M. EDT

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on September 24, 2010 1:30 PM.

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