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Passover seder: Obama White House uses Maxwell House Haggadah

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle host their third Passover seder at the White House on Monday with the meal featuring a traditional menu of brisket, kugel and matzoh balls. As in the two previous seders, the White House will use the Maxwell House Haggadah, published by the coffee maker, very basic but with all the elements.

The guests at the White House seder include Obama daughters Malia and Sasha plus a group of Obama 2008 campaign staffers who found themselves in Harrisbug, Pennsylvania on Passover 2008. Led by Eric Lesser, now with the White House Council of Economic Advisors, they scrambled and put together a seder, invited then Sen. Obama and created a tradition that continues to this day. "Each year since, President and Mrs. Obama have hosted a Seder at the White House including those who were there, plus others staffers and family," the White House said on Monday.

The food is kosher style but not kosher and most of the cooking is being done by the White House kitchen, with some family recipes from staffers for: chicken soup with matzoh balls, braised beef brisket, potato kugel, carrot soufflé, and matzoh chocolate cake. The White House web page is featuring recipes from eight U.S. Jewish chefs. Chicago's Gail Gand, Pastry Chef of Tru, contributed her Passover Lemon Sponge Cake with Strawberries recipe.

My post on the Obama 2010 seder is here.

My post on the Obama 2009 seder is here.

Excerpt from 2009: President Obama and his family hosted a seder at the White House on Thursday, the second night of Passover. Last year Passover fell during the Pennsylvania primary and Obama joined a makeshift seder Eric Lesser--now an assistant to David Axelrod--put together at a hotel in Harrisburg.

Click below for attendees to the 2011 White House seder and the Jewish chefs whose recipes are being featured at

Chefs with Passover recipes at

* Joan Nathan, Cookbook Author, Washington, DC - Moroccan Charoset Truffles
* Todd Aarons, Executive Chef of Tierra Sur at Herzog Wine Cellars, Oxnard, CA - Persian Style Chicken Soup
* Michelle Bernstein, Chef and Owner of Michy's and Sra. Martinez, Miami, FL - Moroccan Spiced Cornish Hens
* Gail Gand, Pastry Chef of Tru, Chicago, IL - Passover Lemon Sponge Cake with Strawberries
* Joyce Goldstein, Cookbook Author and Guest Chef for Passover Seder at Perbacco Restaurant, San Francisco, CA - Spinach with Pine Nuts and Raisins
* Peter Hoffman, Chef of Savoy Restaurant, New York, NY - Tahrir Square Salad
* Michael Leviton, Chef of Lumiere, Newton, MA - Maple-Mustard Glazed Smoked Sable
* Michael Solomonov, Chef of Zahav, Philadelphia, PA - Carrot and Apple Salad with Pine Nuts

Attendees at the 2011 Obama White House seder will include the following people and a couple of their family members:

· President Barack Obama

· First Lady Michelle

· Malia Obama

· Sasha Obama

· Danielle Borrin, Associate Director, Office of Public Engagement

· Arun Chaudhary, White House Videographer

· Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President

· Lisa Kohnke, Deputy Director of Special Events for the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs

· Eric Lesser, Director of Strategic Planning, White House Council of Economic Advisers

· Reggie Love, Personal Aide to the President

· Cookie Offerman, Deputy Associate Director, Office of the Social Secretary

· Jen Psaki, Deputy White House Communications Director

· Samantha Tubman, Deputy Associate Director, Office of the Social Secretary

· Dr. Eric Whitaker

· Melissa Winter, Deputy Chief of Staff to the First Lady

· Herbie Ziskend, Policy Analyst, Office of the Vice President

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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 April 18, 2011 5:29 PM.

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