First Lady talks about her new book, her childhood obesity campaign, and gifts Leno with a jar of White House honey...Video
On Tuesday, First Lady Michelle Obama achieved her goal of getting Jay Leno to eat some vegetables during an appearance on The Tonight Show to promote her Let's Move! campaign--and to talk Campaign 2012. During the taping of the NBC show in Burbank, Leno's desk was turned into a buffet, complete with slices of veggie-topped pizza, a cone-shaped basket of baked sweet potato fries, and apples. The First Lady had run a mini campaign on Twitter to encourage Leno to try some veggies, and she sweetened the deal by bringing along a big jar of White House Honey, from the beehive that sits beside her Kitchen Garden. (Above: Mrs. Obama with Leno and his buffet)
Leno told Parade magazine in a 2006 interview that he hadn't eaten a vegetable since 1969.
"I admit my diet is not good," Leno said during his monologue. "My idea of fruit salad is a bowl of Skittles. The only fiber I get is when I eat a slice of pizza and the cardboard from the box gets stuck in the cheese."
Mrs. Obama was all smiles as she encouraged Leno to try the healthy feast: "You are such a role model for millions, it would be wonderful," she said. He started with the veggie pizza, which was topped with eggplant, green peppers and zucchini, and made with a whole-wheat crust.
"This a good way for people of your ilk, who don't like vegetables, to incorporate them," Mrs. Obama said.
"That does smell very good. I assume this is sausage-pepperoni,” Leno joked, and added "it's not bad," after taking a few bites. "It would be better with sausage and pepperoni."
He hailed the sweet potato fries as "quite good."
"I heard you haven't had an apple in a decade," Mrs. Obama said, as she offered a plate of apples to Leno. "And with some of our White House honey, if you dip it, it will help it go down just a little easier."
“’White House honey.’ That sounds bad," Leno quipped. "You know, with a different president that could mean a whole different thing, ‘a little White House honey.’”
Leno dipped his apple in the honey, and took a bite. He got a big round of applause.
Mrs. Obama also discussed her forthcoming book, American Grown, which will be published in May. The book cover was flashed onscreen.
"It's about the Kitchen Garden," she said. Asked if the White House will ever have a cattle herd to go along with the beehive and the garden, Mrs. Obama said no, and credited First Dog Bo.
Asked by Leno if she has any veggies she doesn't like, Mrs. Obama said beets.
"I am not a beet lover," Mrs. Obama said. "I believe there is a beet gene, and I don't have it." It's a theory the First Lady first posited during a Ladies' Home Journal cover story in 2010.
Leno had a surprise for Mrs. Obama: He took out a plate of beets, and offered her some.
"Tricky, tricky," Mrs. Obama said.
"All I ask is that you try ," Leno said.
The First Lady took a bite, wrinkling her nose, and got cheers. Mrs. Obama may not like beets, but they were in the salad she served during her luncheon for the APEC Leaders Spouses last November in Hawaii.
"She ate every bite," Chef Ed Kenney, who cooked the meal, told Obama Foodorama.
Mrs. Obama also discussed President Obama's new career as a singer--thanks to Al Green--daughters Malia and Sasha, and the re-election campaign.
Leno eats an apple and White House honey in this clip:
Leno's White House gift...
The First Lady's beehive is the first to ever be on White House grounds, and was installed when she first planted her Kitchen Garden in 2009. Overseen by beekeeper Charlie Brandts, it produced 243 pounds of honey in 2011. The honey is used for everything from First Family meals to State Dinners, and jars of it have been included in Mrs. Obama's diplomatic gifts, including a garden-centric gift for His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, during President Obama's State Visit to the UK in 2011. White House honey is also used to make White House homebrewed beer. (Above: A jar of White House honey; the lid reads "from the South Lawn")
Mrs. Obama, on a two-day swing through Los Angeles, spoke at a DNC reception on Tuesday evening, and will tape The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Wednesday. She'll also attend a Let's Move! event on Wednesday morning, before heading to a DNC luncheon.
The President last appeared on The Tonight Show in October of 2011, and after joking to Leno that the White House was in danger of getting egged on Halloween thanks to his wife's insistence on including dried fruit in treat bags handed out to costumed school kids, more candy was actually added to the treat bags.
*NBC photo & video; honey photo by Obama Foodorama