Wednesday, May 25, 2011

President Obama Flips Burgers At First Lady's Downing Street BBQ For Military Families

The Obamas & the Camerons Join Forces for special event; with the menu & a video of the garden party...
First Lady Michelle Obama has taken her Joining Forces campaign across the pond. Mid-morning in London, she joined Samantha Cameron, wife of British Prime Minister David Cameron, in hosting a barbecue for members of the armed forces and their families, in the flag-bedecked garden at 10 Downing Street. President Obama and the Prime Minister left a morning meeting to join the fun and man the barbecue grill, exchanging tough talk for tongs.

The President's shirtsleeves were rolled up, and he chewed gum as he and Cameron worked over a big grill, taking over from the Downing Street chefs in burger flipping.

"So how are we cooking these?" President Obama asked Cameron.

But despite their burger flipping, the President and Prime Minster were supposed to be serving rather than cooking, and Downing Street staff shooed them away from the grill, re-stationing them at a serving table, where the President served sausages to guests, at a table next to where his wife and Mrs. Cameron were serving. (Above: The foursome serve lunch)

The shindig was to celebrate the establishment of the joint US-UK Service Members Task Force. Forty-seven US service members from the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force were at the BBQ with their families, according to the White House. All are currently on active duty, and there are three purple hearts and eleven bronze stars among them.

Mrs. Obama served Jersey Royals--potatoes--while Mrs. Cameron doled out Caesar salad. (Above: The ladies vamp for photographers)

The Menu, per the White House:
Selection of British sausages
Beef burgers
Rosemary kentish lamb chops
Roasted corn on the cob
Caesar salad
Tomato, mozarella and basil salad
Hot Jersey Royals (potatoes)

The Obamas and the Camerons are having tons of London fun: On Tuesday, the President and Prime Minister dropped by a high school for a game of ping pong with students--though the kids won. Mrs. Obama joined Mrs. Cameron for an afternoon Tea in the private residence at 11 Downing Street.

The barbecue is about as far as can be gotten from Tuesday night's ceremonial and lavish State Banquet Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II hosted at Buckingham Palace for President Obama. Picnic guests sat at round wood tables under the sunny London sky, many in uniform. (Above: The President and Prime Minister at their proper stations, serving)

But this evening there will be a return to formality. The President will host a black tie return State Dinner for Her Majesty at Windsor House, the residence of the US Ambassador. UPDATE: A post about the dinner IS HERE.

(Above: The President mingles with guests)

A video of the garden party:

The visit to London is President Obama's first State Visit to Europe, and comes after a one-day stop in Ireland, where he met his distant relations in the village of Moneygall. Mrs. Obama got a lesson in pulling a pint, too. On Thursday, the President heads for France to attend the G8 summit. Mrs. Obama will return to the US.

*Top photo from The Prime Minister's Office; second photo by Pete Souza/White House; others by Reuters/pool; ITN video