Wednesday, October 23, 2013

President Obama Is An Expert At Pakistani Cooking, He Tells Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

The President says he's a master of daal and keema; Prime Minister promises to serve the dishes if he visits Pakistan...
Washington, DC - Never mind drone strikes and global security.  President Barack Obama on Wednesday discussed his cooking expertise with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.  In Washington for the first time since his election last May, the Prime Minister got an earload from the President about his affection for the foods of Pakistan after the two leaders met in the Oval Office.

During a press appearance following the bilateral, the President reminisced about his visit to Pakistan during his college days in the 1980s, and told Sharif that he knows how to cook daal, a spicy lentil soup, and keema, a traditional South Asian meat dish, "and other very good Pakistani food."  

He was taught by his roomates' mothers, President Obama said.

"I shared with him {Sharif} that I had the opportunity, back in 1980 when I was a very young man, to visit Pakistan because I had two Pakistani roommates in college whose mothers taught me how to cook daal and keema, and other very good Pakistani food," President Obama told reporters.  

"And it was a wonderful trip for me, and created a great appreciation and a great love for the Pakistani people." 

The comments got a smile and laughter from Sharif, who invited the President and First Lady Michelle Obama to visit Pakistan, where, he said, more daal and keema awaits.

"Mr. President, I admire your statesmanship, your wisdom, and your commitment to high values of peace and stability around the world," Sharif said.  

"I thank you once again and look forward to welcoming you and Mrs. Obama in Pakistan. And keema and daal is waiting for you."

The Prime Minister's election last May "led to the first democratic transfer of power between elected governments in Pakistan's history," the White House said.  (Above, a White House photo taken as the bilateral began)

The Prime Minister's wife, Mrs. Kalsoom Nawaz Sharif, also had some foodie moments at the White House.  Mrs.  Obama on Wednesday morning hosted a special tea party for Mrs. Sharif, which included a command performance from former Poet Laureate Billy Collins.

The Prime Minister's day on Wednesday began with breakfast with Vice President Joe Biden at his official residence, the Naval Observatory.

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*Top photo by pool; second by Pete Souza/White House