November 24th, 2009
04:45 PM ET
11 years ago

Resplendent colors highlight setting for state dinner


The president, first lady and their guests will dine on pumpkin pie tart or pear tatin with whipped cream and caramel sauce for desert during Tuesday night's state dinner at the White House. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Washington (CNN) - Tables set in resplendent colors - apple green, ruby, gold - with floral arrangements of roses, hydrangeas and sweet peas in plum, purple and fuchsia awaited guests to Tuesday's White House state dinner.

The place settings in fine china from three previous administrations - Eisenhower, Clinton and George W. Bush - are flanked by crystal glasses and five pieces of silverware. Place cards are handwritten - "The President" and "Mrs. Obama" read two.

The first state dinner of Barack Obama's presidency, in honor of visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will take place in a tent set up on the White House South Lawn, with a view of the Washington Monument.

Guests will sit at round tables for 10, with the flower arrangements intended to pay homage to the state bird of India, the Indian peacock, and the dinner featuring a seasonal menu reflecting both American and Indian flavors, according to the White House.

The first course will be a potato and eggplant salad made with White House-grown arugula and accompanied by an onion-seed vinaigrette. Red lentil soup with fresh cheese follows, and then a choice of entrees - roasted potato dumplings with tomato chutney, chick peas and okra for vegetarians, or green curry prawns and caramelized salsify with smoked collard greens.

Dessert will be pumpkin pie tart or pear tatin with whipped cream and caramel sauce. Each course is paired with its own wine, all of American vintage.

According to the White House, Michelle Obama worked with guest chef Marcus Samuelsson and White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford to "create a menu that reflects the best of American cuisine, continues this White House's commitment to serving fresh, sustainable and regional food, and honors the culinary excellence and flavors that are present in Indian cuisine."

The herbs and lettuces were harvested from the White House Kitchen Garden started by Michelle Obama, and honey from the White House beehive is being used to poach the dessert pears.

Filed under: Obama administration • White House
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. sara

    Yummy, Yummy Yummy! Good that the 50,000.00 china that Mrs. Bush order on my Taxes, again on the way out the door, are being put to good use.

    November 24, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  2. usualone

    Those of you who continue to criticize the President, why don't you just criticize him when he sneezes? It is nothing new for Presidents to have meals such as this when others are suffering. Contrary to what the naysayers say, these folk are always working. Things such as collard greens are basic foods of the South and pumpkin is a basic simple, seasonal food. Lentils are not foods for only the elite folk too. These are American foods that are presented in intriguing ways. It is not the President's fault about the job losses. Instead of always being negative, why don't you naysayers come up with ideas where and how jobs can be created. The President is not your papa.

    November 24, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  3. Mary

    What will this state dinner cost the taxpayers? Bet it would pay for a Thanksgiving dinner for thousands of hungry Americans who are still waiting for those jobs Obama promised and will be lucky to have a pot of beans on the table.

    November 24, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  4. Ridgeway

    And for the Dems supporting the health care bill delicious crow. Cooking on a low fire along with their respective geese. Served in lieu of Thanksgiving dinner in November 2010. Eat up boys and girls.

    November 24, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  5. kevin

    and now for some real news folks. obama having dinner. what a crock. who cares. president????? hes just a flip flop artist
    If you own any shares in alternative energy companies I should start dumping them NOW. The conspiracy behind the Anthropogenic Global Warming myth (aka AGW; aka ManBearPig) has been suddenly, brutally and quite deliciously exposed after a hacker broke into the computers at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (aka CRU) and released 61 megabytes of confidential files onto the internet. (Hat tip: Watts Up With That)

    When you read some of those files – including 1079 emails and 72 documents – you realise just why the boffins at CRU might have preferred to keep them confidential. As Andrew Bolt puts it, this scandal could well be “the greatest in modern science”. These alleged emails – supposedly exchanged by some of the most prominent scientists pushing AGW theory – suggest:

    Conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more.

    One of the alleged emails has a gentle gloat over the death in 2004 of John L Daly (one of the first climate change sceptics, founder of the Still Waiting For Greenhouse site), commenting:

    “In an odd way this is cheering news.

    November 24, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  6. Ridgeway

    Oh goody. I'm giddy. I'll bet Michelle works in the garden every day. She needs to straighten out her old man. He keeps spreading the fertilizer inside the White House.

    November 24, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  7. Mlhall

    He is the President of the USA get over it.

    November 24, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  8. Eric

    I understand that of course we have to put out a good dinner for such an occasion. But as Americans I in this economic climate , I think most would agree we really don't need to hear about it. Its like Marie Antoinette living high dining on the finest foods and telling the commoners to eat cake when they had no bread.

    November 24, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  9. Paul fom Kissimmee

    After Obama's done with the important things, he'll decide whether or not to help our men and women in Afghanistan. What a self serving loser.

    November 24, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  10. indy

    At least Hollywood is well represented on the guest list. I'd hate to see them go unrewarded for all of the fundraising they did. Also, since Katie Couric of CBS News is on the list, can she be taken as an objective news source? Before people get in an uproar, I have no idea how many FOX News people attended State Dinners during the Bush administration. For the record, I would think that was wrong too. I just don't understand how we are to respect the objectivity of the person if they are attending functions such as this. I'm also sure a tax could be instituted to cover the cost of such events if that is a concern.

    November 24, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  11. Albo58

    Oh yes, I can't decide which is more nauseating, the menu or the attendees!

    November 24, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  12. pat

    I prefer that my tax dollars not be spent on health care for people that don:t want to work and will always have their hands out for more giveaways. The Lord says that if you don"t work you don"t eat. It seems that when the Democrats get in office we get a lot of entitlements and I'm tired of this administration giving away to people that have always wanted a handout. Government should not be in the Health business and would like for us to be a Socialist nation. This is America and I thought our forefathers died so that we could be free. President Obama is trying very hard to make sure that the rich spread the wealth to the poor or is it to those that feel like the country owes them !!!!! What ever happen to the idea that if you work and get an education you will get a good job. I hope that those that voted for him will be happy now that our country is going down the drain. How much more can the Democrats do but now there is talk of a War tax. The people are tired of these taxes and i think they are going to say enough is enough. I know that some of Democratic leaders are going to be surprised when their constituents vote them out of office.
    !!!!!!! I' m sure those people that are out of work really loved the idea that Obama had to keep his promise to his wife to take her a play that cost several thousands of dollars. They can't afford to take their wife out to dinner(some don't have money to eat period).

    November 24, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  13. frankinwiltonmanors

    This reminds of the French Royal Court on the eve of the French Revolution.

    November 24, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  14. JK in Ashburn

    Change we can believe in. Aaaaaaaah, aren't they wonderful. First, the Nobel prize. Next, two stars from Michelin for the wonderful dining and ambiance they bring to the White House. We are so fortunate to have them. Everything they touch is glorious. How could this country have survived for so long without them? It's a complete mystery.

    November 24, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  15. Debby

    Sounds good but wondering how much that place setting is worth.

    November 24, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  16. Peter Lomtevas

    No state dinners at my house. Fifty pound bags of potatoes for us this winter.

    November 24, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  17. Red English Rose

    Put a SOCK in it people!!!

    Every President hosts State Diners. It's part of THEIR JOB!!! Everyone whines and complains about JOBS, JOBS, JOBS, well President Obama is DOING HIS JOB!!! Just like Lincoln, Kennedy, etc. have done before him. WHY are Americans complaining NOW?

    Where have you people been? These dinners are design to strenghten Foreign relationships with other countries!!!

    President Obama could SOLVE all the problems of our country and Americans will still have something to complain about. That's how miserable you Americans are,

    Americans are NEVER happy, NEVER satisfied, NEVER pleased with anything but their miserable selves!!! GET a grip and stop complaining. Things could always be WORSE, you could be living in Iraq or some other foreign country!!!!

    Instead of complaing, Americans should STEP UP and start thanking your lucky stars that you are not living in some foreign country with NO freedom what-so-ever!!!

    Americans need to STOP being selfish and START stepping up to help THEIR President HELP them!!

    President Obama did NOT take on this job to win a fans, he's working 18-24 hour days to make a difference in YOUR lives and yet you Americans are too STUPID to know it. Other countries would LOVE to have a President like President Obama leading them. Americans are too selfish and petty, they DEFEAT themselves and blame everyone else for their miserable lives.

    November 24, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  18. Keith in Austin

    What a bunch of liberal mass-media drivel CNN.

    While Obozo and Mickey prance around this Whitehouse.
    Photo op, Americans are being overtaxed, soldiers have been waiting a decision on troop support for 4 months and unemployment is skyrocketing. This President is a total embarrasment and will be definitely back in Chicago working for AC0RN in 2012!

    November 24, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  19. stu

    This is news why?

    November 24, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  20. realUSA

    Never in the history of the White House has a First Lady spent so much on so many personal assistants, all paid from taxpayer dollars.

    TOTAL – $1,256,770.00

    Hilary had three; Jackie Kennedy one; Laura Bush one; and prior to Mamie Eisenhower, social help came from the President's own pocket.

    Michelle Obama has 26 – from makeup artist Ingrid Miles and hairstylist Johnny Wright to her "chief of staff" Susan Sher, whose salary is $172,200.00.

    The First Lady does not get paid to serve as First Lady, and she doesn't perform any official duties. But this hasn't deterred her from hiring an unprecedented number of staffers to cater to every whim and satisfy every request in the midst of a great Recession. TOTAL – $1,256,770.00

    Sort of makes one think the White House has been mistaken for the Versailles Court of Marie (let 'em eat cake) Antoinette, doesn't it?

    November 24, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  21. Thoughtful

    Nice! Whomever arainged the settings has made the USA look good! The menu is superb, and as someone else pointed out, our President and his lady are a class act! Say what you may about policys and programs, this President knows how to put on a bash!

    November 24, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  22. Jasmine in Germany

    Oh come on, you idiots! A much too large US population sees no relation to world affairs, they are blindsighted by their own borders (and educational limits) and do not understand anything about international relations and how important that is to the security and well-being of the USA in general. Gosh, the White House is hosting a State Dinner, I'm sure it will be excellent and deserving. You should be proud, but all you do is complain. Obama is the man repairing the heavy damage of the former administration, and he is the one who has openly recognized poverty, poor education, poor health care, etc. in the USA . Don't blame everything that isn't right on him. He's the one who is trying to fix things but is constantly opposed by the "Party of No"; which only wants his downfall to so that they can regain their personal power, not what is in the best interest of the USA . I'm really tired of the Obama bashings, they just continue to show how ignorant a good part of the USA is and confirms what the educated in other parts of the world think of US Americans in general (not flattering).

    To the White House and its wonderful State Dinner guests: bon apetit!

    November 24, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
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