Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The West Wing Runs On M&Ms, Huli Huli Chicken On Fridays, And Other Food Secrets From Inside The Obama White House

Update: The Obamas give White House M&Ms in Halloween treat bags
NBC correspondent Brian Williams--and 23 camera crews-- followed President Obama and the First Lady around all day last Friday, to film a two-part TV special, Inside The Obama White House. All together, they got about 150 hours of footage, and this has been edited down into two hours. Part one airs tonight on NBC at 9 PM in your time zone, part two airs tomorrow...and there's plenty of fun foodie stuff. The crew shooting at the White House was also busy with their own camphones and Twitter, and two of the crew, DAdams and ASanfuentes, spent the day tweeting a lot of Chowbama info. A wrap up:

An Alternative Sustainable Biofuel: M&Ms. A "secret" White House foodie fact: The West Wing runs on M&Ms. Sterling silver bowls of M&Ms are scattered all around the West Wing (in pic), and staffers, according to the film crew tweets, wander by and grab handfuls, especially in the afternoons. These are just regular ol' M&Ms, no special color, but the M&Ms are also packaged in awesomely cute White House boxes (pic at top of post), and staffers take the "coveted" boxes back to their offices--or homes. On Fridays, the regular M&Ms in the bowls are changed to peanut M&Ms. Official fuel policy change: President Bush I changed President Reagan's jellybeans to M&Ms, after he took office.

The White House Kitchen Garden: First Lady Michelle Obama's Friday visit with the Bancroft Elementary School fifth graders who are helping her in the White House Kitchen Garden was filmed, and with luck a nice chunk of it will actually make it into the final cut of the show. Mrs. Obama gave a terrific speech about food policy and the garden, and the kids also read moving essays on their experience at the White House. Along with Assistant chef and Food Initiative Coordinator Sam Kass, Mrs. Obama also planted veggies in the kids' garden at the school (in pic). Later in the day, back at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Kass was filmed pulling up chard, chamomile, and chives in the White House Kitchen Garden, and then washing it...but it remains to be seen what makes it into the final cut.

The White House Kitchen: A camera crew was of course in the kitchen, checking out the presidential chow; at 8AM Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford and kitchen staff were already working on dinner.

The White House Mess: The White House cafeteria for staff is run by the Navy (and is usually referred to as the 'Navy Mess'). It opens at 7 AM, and staffers were "flooding in" for coffee and danish, as well as to get M&M boxes. About 400 lunches are served every day, mostly takeout for staffers who eat at their desks. On the menu on Friday: Crab cakes, fish, shrimp and portobello sandwiches for vegetarians. DAdams tweet: If it's Friday, it's Huli Huli chicken...A WH tradition for years, Huli Huli is sweet soy marinated chicken.

The Five Guys Burger Run: Of course a typical day at the White House includes President Obama running out for burgers, and this was all over the airwaves last Friday. The President took his motorcade to the Five Guys by National stadium, about five minutes from the White House, and caused a thrilled ruckus among the lunch crowd. Brian Williams accompanied the President, as did Reggie Love and a bastion of Secret Service guys. The President, as is his habit, ordered a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, jalapeno peppers, mustard and ketchup. There was no mustard scandal...this time. And there was no kerfuffle over the burgers' doneness, because Five Guys cooks all their burgers well done.

Larry Summers Has Diet Coke As His New Stimulus Strategy: Four cans of the soda were delivered to econmic adviser Summers' office during filming, and a WH staffer noted that "those are all for Larry." Summers needs those cokes; he's the guy who was photographed snoozing through the first big meeting with credit card execs--while the President was running the show from the other end of the table.

*Visit the Inside The Obama White House for micro video previews, and for some web-only stuff. Pix from @insideobamawh on Twitter; Garden pic from Getty; Summers pic from Thinkprogress.org.