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Obamas Woo Governors With Spinach and Soul

By all accounts, the first state dinner for the new first couple was a feast of favorites.

He got his beloved scallops; she got her creamed spinach without the cream - and, more importantly, her Earth, Wind & Fire.

"The president loves scallops," divulged first lady Michelle Obama during a pre-dinner tour of the White House kitchen yesterday afternoon.

The scallops were served with Wagyu beef, glazed red carrots, portobello mushrooms and creamed (but not with real cream) spinach.

"That is an amazing spinach, a creamed spinach without cream," the first lady marveled to an assembled kitchen of chefs, visiting culinary students and White House journalists on "pool" duty. "There is no way you would eat that and not think that it wasn't filled with cream and cheese."

Alas, as you can read here in Lynn Sweet's extensive print pool report, the creamed spinach had not a drop of cream in it, just as the first lady desired.

Several hours later, the not-really-creamed spinach took a back burner when the state dinner for the nation's governors was well underway and Earth, Wind & Fire took the stage. State dinner pool reporter Mike Madden of reports:

The band opened its set with "Boogie Wonderland," which had various elected officials nodding their heads. The band was lively; a percussionist waved his drumsticks at the crowd, trying to get them dancing. POTUS and FLOTUS were at the front of the crowd on the dance floor, smiling and talking with guests. Your pool was ushered out of the room after about three minutes, and with the TV cameras gone, the lights were lowered. As we walked through the crowd and out the front door, Earth, Wind & Fire was starting to play "September."

Madden noted that President Obama wore a black tuxedo with a black bow tie and gold shirt studs, while FLOTUS wore a silver dress, "with a necklace that looked to be made up of diamonds and pearls."

Before the boogying began, as dinner was served, the president proposed a toast aimed at getting the governors to swallow his economic stimulus plan: "To the nation's governors, to the United States of America, and to the certain hope that despite our current travails, that we will all emerge more prosperous and more unified than we were before. And with that, I believe that dinner is served."

The president sat between Midge Rendell, the first lady of Pennsylvania whose husband, Ed Rendell, is chairman of the National Governors Association, and Carole Rome, first lady of Florida and wife of Gov. Charlie Crist.

Perhaps since she couldn't watch the Oscars, the first lady was seated next to an actor: California Gov. Arnold "I'll Be Back" Schwarzenegger.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  February 23, 2009; 5:05 AM ET
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Please...lead story, front page, above the fold...the recipe for the no-cream creamed spinach!

Posted by: Rivery | February 23, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

All snark aside, I'd also like to know the no-cream creamed spinach recipe. According to the accompanying Sun-Times blogpost from Lynn Sweet:

"Comerford said this is how she does it ....Sauteed spinach, olive oil and shallots last minute whipped into a puree...keeps all the nutritional value in it...."

Can you verify the recipe? Or has anyone tried this out?

Posted by: gateway_joe | February 23, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

The Borgen Project has some good info on the cost of addressing global poverty.

$30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.
$550 billion: U.S. Defense budget

Posted by: atsegga | February 23, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

We should get Kim O'Donnell's take on this (the Mighty Appetite blog). Sounds like a winner.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 23, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, where's the darn recipe? Mrs. vagolfer wants to cook the no-cream creamed spinach, and Mr. vagolfer wants to eat it.

Posted by: vagolfer | February 24, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mary Ann Akers,

Why do you refer to President and Mrs. Obama as Potus and Flotus?

Posted by: joann8983 | February 24, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Conspicuous in its absence has been any intelligent dialog concerning one of our largest financial drains and human rights violations. THE WAR ON DRUGS has created and financed world wide ruthless, violent drug cartels and mafias, while corrupting politicians, police, youths and sometimes entire cultures. For what purpose were these laws created? At what expense will this war continue? What if president Obama had been caught with a joint. Would he be where he is today? I doubt it! Chances are he would have never been a states attorney, prosecutor or judge, much less PRESIDENT of The United States. So tell me, how many brilliant, talented lives have had their chance to achieve the American Dream quashed? How many otherwise good people will be "not allowed to participate in the mainstream"? What have we gained? The economy, the environment, human rights, want to solve some problems? Legalize and plant hemp for starters.. Please Mr. President Pull Out The Drug War Troops. William Conde

Posted by: itchaway | February 25, 2009 5:39 AM | Report abuse

I love the opening comments in this story and I'm glad you got to enjoy 3 minutes of Earth, Wind & Fire...but what is this "POTUS and FLOTUS? What happened to the President and First Lady? Why can't the media show any proper respect for our royalty? All other countries show the proper protocol and respect but the US media always finds a way to tear our leaders and their wives down. I didn't like it when the media did it to Nancy and Ronald, Bill and Hillary, Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn, Laura and GW. I don't care who they are, we the American people, went to a lot of trouble electing these people and we want them to get their 'props' as my grandchildren would say. I'm asking the Washington Post to respect our elected officials as we respect Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. If we can give respect to the Afghanistan and Pakistani royalty with our American tax dollars, we certainly can give the proper respect to our own, thank you very much!

Posted by: whtlady849 | February 25, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

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