WASHINGTON (AP)—The White House has fully embraced one of eating’s hottest trends—seasonal cooking with ingredients grown at home.
Presidential chef Cristeta Comerford credits the change in the food coming from the White House’s kitchen to Michelle Obama’s decision in 2009 to start a garden on the South Lawn as part of her Let’s Move campaign to encourage kids to eat healthier.
Comerford says the garden has also inspired her in her own home, where she planted a plot and she and her 10-year-old daughter, Danielle, cook together. Comerford herself lost 15 pounds last year.
Cooking with kids is the subject of a new Prevention Magazine initiative that encourages parents to bring kids into the kitchen. Obama taped a message for the magazine’s website endorsing the effort and Comerford shared a vegetable pizza recipe as an example of a fun meal to cook with children.
Despite the healthy focus, the chef defends Obama against critics who pounce when she’s seen eating a burger or french fries. Obama has said she loves fries and tells audiences that healthy eating doesn’t always have to mean deprivation.
Prevention Magazine is featuring Obama on its March cover. In an interview with the magazine, the first lady says her daughter Sasha recently discovered tomatoes—a food she always said she didn’t like—after taking a cooking class at school.
“She insisted that the tomatoes she had at school were different from the ones we have at home,” Obama told the magazine. “But the real difference is that she had put time into making that sandwich, so she was invested in it.”