As chronicled here since 2008, President Obama has earned his nickname of 'Commander in Beef' because he is a major fan of steak both when dining out and when hosting high-profile White House dinners, where excellent cuts of beef have been the most frequently served entree since he moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
First Lady Michelle Obama has newly revealed that by what amounts to an Executive Order, Friday is 'steak night' for the First Family, because steak is indeed the President's favorite evening meal.
"You know, we're not vegetarians. We love red meat," Mrs. Obama said in a Sunday interview on CBS's Sunday Morning show.
"We generally have steak on Friday, and that's the President's favorite dinner, so Friday nights are steak nights," Mrs. Obama said.
Perhaps Mrs. Obama was honoring her husband's mandate last month while he was visiting Jordan. She had a Friday night dinner at DC's Cedar restaurant, where she enjoyed Virginia-raised steak.
Still, though he loves steak, her husband isn't thrilled with other offerings from American cattle: The President dislikes "cheesy stuff," Mrs. Obama said. So much so that First Daughters Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11, look forward to their father missing dinner, Mrs. Obama said.
"Dad not being here is kind of a good thing, because they get to pick the menu," Mrs. Obama said.
"Because there's stuff that he doesn't like. He doesn't like a lot of cheesy stuff, so it's sort of like, 'Dad's not gonna be home for dinner, we get to pick dinner!'"
For the record, the President has routinely ordered cheese on the many hamburgers he's enjoyed outside the White House gates since 2009, despite not being a lover of "cheesy stuff." (At left, enjoying a cheeseburger during one of the six 'Dinner with Barack' contest meals last year)
The girls are also tough customers when it comes to vegetables, Mrs. Obama said while describing her Let's Move! campaign and the glorious bounty growing in her Kitchen Garden. While lamenting that most American kids aren't required to eat their vegetables, Mrs. Obama said it's a house rule for her own children.
"My kids know, you've got to eat your vegetables," Mrs. Obama said. "Our kids are not somehow veggie lovers...It's still a struggle."
The most beefcentric President in history?
While the First Daughters may balk at bok choi, it's never been a struggle to get presidential guests to eat their Kitchen Garden vegetables, served as the accompaniment for steak at all the most important White House dinners, where the seasonal menus are courtesy of Executive Chef Cris Comerford.
The President most recently served steak, vegetables and greens at his April 11th dinner for a dozen Republican Senators, held in the Old Family Dining Room.
His Passover Seder this year for friends and family starred beef brisket, while the First Family's 2012 Christmas Dinner in Hawaii was anchored by steak, Mrs. Obama announced during the holidays.
Before that, dry aged rib eye was the star of the show when the President and Mrs. Obama hosted a black-tie affair at the White House to honor Iraq war veterans, the 'A Nation's Gratitude Dinner' in February of 2012. Outside the White House, the First Couple celebrated their twentieth wedding anniversary last October with dinner at Bourbon Steak restaurant in Georgetown, and feasted on the house specialty, 'A5' Miyazaki Japanese wagyu, a source tipped Obama Foodorama.
It's all part of the ongoing winning streak for steak in the Obama White House. While past Presidents have served everything from Arctic Char to saddle of lamb at State Dinners, four of President Obama's six State Dinners have featured steak as the entree--wagyu, tenderloin or dry aged rib eye, domestically sourced. (Above, toasting with China's President Hu Jintao at the State Dinner in his honor; the entree was dry aged rib eye)
All five of the President and Mrs. Obamas's black-tie dinners for America's Governors, held annually in February, have featured steak as the entree. In fact, in 2011, every one of the President's major dinners spotlighted steak.
President Obama also offered two of the world leaders he honored with State Dinners a steak double whammy. On the eve of her State Dinner in June of 2011 where a petite filet was the entree, President Obama escorted German Chancellor Angela Merkel to 1789 restaurant in Georgetown, where both enjoyed organic Virginia-raised beef tenderloin.
Mr. Lee Myung-bak, former President of the Republic of Korea, was also treated to steak on the eve of his steak-centric State Dinner in October 2011. President Obama took Lee to dinner at Woo Lae Oak restaurant in suburban Virginia, where they enjoyed Bulgogi, a traditional Korean rib-eye prepared with "a secret marinade."
The President and Mrs. Obama have also carried their steak love abroad: When the hosted the 2011 Return State Dinner for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in London, held at the US Ambassador's residence, the menu featured griddled filet of aged Highlands beef as the entree. The APEC Leaders Dinner the President hosted in Hawaii in the same year had beef as the entree, too.
In between the big-deal dinners, rare roast beef is served at many White House receptions, including at all the winter holiday receptions. At summer picnics for thousands of guests, burgers are served, including at the annual Congressional Picnic and the Independence Day picnic for members of the military and their families.
Beef as the Presidential good luck charm...
You might even say that beef is Mr. Obama's good luck charm. During his 2012 race for reelection, President Obama helped load his campaign coffers with millions of dollars by running six different 'Dinner with Barack' contests for regular citizens. While dining with the winners at DC-area restaurants, the President ate steak or a burger at five of the six events. (Above, the President and Mrs. Obama during a contest dinner at DC's Boundary Road restaurant, where both ordered steak)
And after a disastrous first Presidential Debate last October against GOP challenger Mitt Romney, the President had steak and potatoes for dinner ahead of his second debate, the White House announced. He came roaring back for a big win, and had exactly the same lucky meal before his third debate, the White House also announced. The President was dubbed the winner of that debate, too. The unfortunate food he consumed ahead of debate #1 remains a mystery. But clearly eating his favorite food bolstered the President's better debate performances.
President Obama's favorite steak recipe..
As for how the Commander in Beef likes his steak? "I'm a medium-well guy," President Obama announced in 2009 as he grilled rib eye steaks for a Father's Day event on the South Lawn with guest chef Bobby Flay, an acclaimed coal meister. (Above, in action)
To date, it's been the President's only public cooking event since taking office. Of course it featured his favorite food.
The White House has released many more vegetable recipes than meat recipes as part of Mrs. Obama's child obesity campaign (check the sidebar for all recipes). For all the Obama steak love, there has been just one steak recipe issued, created by Sam Kass, Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy and Assistant Chef.
Kass still cooks dinner five nights a week for the First Family, and his recipe for Grilled Skirt Steak with Poblano sauce over a bed of sauteed spinach is a favorite of President Obama's, Kass said when releasing the recipe.
Unlike the steak served at big events, skirt steak is a budget choice, though very tasty. Cook it medium-well, to eat Obama style.
*Top photo by Pete Souza/White House; President Hu photo by Lawrence Jackson/White House; Flay photo by Smantha Appleton/White House; Boundary Road and burger photo by Christopher Dilts/Obama for America