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First Couple Faces Criticism For Dining Decisions

The first couple have continued to convey political messages about food with their recent dining choices. The Obamas spent Saturday evening in Manhattan, where they dined at James Beard Award-winning chef Dan Barber's restaurant Blue Hill before catching a Broadway show.

Within hours, news sites were awash with commentary on the first couple's romantic dinner. "Is it possible to be too political at mealtime?" the Washington Post posited, noting the couple has adopted a pattern of choosing eateries with strong local ties and sustainable food agendas. The Times' Frank Bruni called the decision "too pat and controlled," portraying the president as overly somber and self-restrained when it comes to enjoying food.

Ironically, the same day the Obamas were chided for overthinking dinner, the Times also criticized the First Lady for not going far enough in her message about food. Writer Amanda Hesser lauded Michelle Obama for bringing attention to the local foods movement, then criticized her for stopping short of promoting cooking. Wrote Hesser: "Terrific local ingredients aren't of much use if people aren't cooking them . . . Just as she highlighted American fashion by wearing the clothes of young designers, she could call attention to cooking by bringing America's talented young chefs to the White House for a food summit meeting."

Shouldn't the Obamas be commended for making educated dining choices? Is the media coming down too hard on the presidential couple? How do you feel about the food selections the Obamas have made thus far?


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