The 'Obama Foodorama' and other tales of cooking

Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil | 8/10/2011, 12:17 a.m.

Silverstein, a Boston-based food writer, is also the author of “The Boston Chef’s Table,” “The New England Soup Factory Cookbook,” and “White Girl: A Story of School Desegregation.” Formerly a writer for the Boston Herald, Silverstein also contributes to Health magazine, Prevention, Runner’s World and the Boston Globe.

Speaking at the National Archives last week, Silverstein said that her favorite recipes in the cookbook include the pizza  —  which she serves to her young children  —  and the rhubarb and buttermilk cake. In addition to cooking  —  which she did a lot of  —  Silverstein said that she also learned a lot about growing when preparing her book.

The White House garden, she continued, is “such an important part of Michelle Obama’s platform,” and has become the “staging ground and backdrop for all these things she’s doing.”

Speaking to the fifth-graders who helped her start the garden in 2009, Obama said, “And we’re looking to you guys to help educate the country, not just in your own homes, but other people as they think about how to plan their meals for their kids, to think about the importance of making sure that we have enough fruits and vegetables.”

“And doing this garden is a really inexpensive way of making that happen.”

Barack Obama’s Chili Serves 6-8

1 large onion
1 green bell pepper
Several cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground turkey or beef
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground oregano
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground basil
1 tablespoon chili powder
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Several tomatoes, depending on size or
1 (15-ounce) can of diced tomatoes with juice
1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans

1. Peel and chop the onion. Wash the pepper, remove the seeds and chop. Peel and chop the garlic.

2. In a pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, green pepper and garlic. Sauté until the vegetables are soft.

3. Add the ground meat and sauté until it browns.

4. In a small bowl, mix together the cumin, oregano, turmeric, basil and chili powder. Add to the ground meat.

5. Add the red wine vinegar to the pot and stir to combine.

6. Chop the tomatoes and add to the pot. Simmer until the tomatoes cook down.

7. Drain the kidney beans in a colander in the sink and rinse with cold water. Add the beans and cook for a few more minutes.

8. Serve over white or brown rice. Garnish with grated cheddar cheese, onions and sour cream.

Recipe courtesy of The Obama Foodorama, as featured in “A White House Garden Cookbook,” by Clara Silverstein.