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White House Hosts First-Ever Kids' State Dinner, er, Lunch

AP_KidsStateDinner.jpg

From guest blogger Nirvi Shah:

Lunch at the White House today will include choices from a new cookbook that holds recipes for, among other items, Secret Service Super Salad, Apple Alien, and Miss Kitty's Egg Salad Sensation.

For the first-ever Kids' State Dinner (lunch, actually), first lady Michelle Obama invited 54 students ages 8 to 12 from all over the country who submitted winning recipes for the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. Students had to create meals that are healthy and tasty, and judges, including editors from the Epicurious website and celebrity chef and restaurateur José Andrés, selected the winners from among more than 1,200 winners.

The Secret Service Super Salad, the creation of 9-year-old Michael Lakind of Texas, is made with spinach; boneless, skinless chicken; strawberries; and whole wheat croutons. The Apple Alien, by 8-year-old Aaron Beckman of Nebraska, is a take on a turkey wrap with a side of skewered fruit.

"Is this not cool? This is just so very cool," Obama said. Since her husband took office, she has been on a mission to change students' eating and physical exercise habits with her Let's Move! project. And she was on hand for the unveiling of new nutritional standards for school breakfasts and lunches earlier this year. She also helped kids shatter the world record for the highest number of jumping jacks done in a 24-hour period.

"Understand it's not just cool for all of you. This house has been abuzz with this event," Obama told the students. "You guys inspire us at the White House to keep doing what we're doing."

Some of the winning recipes were on today's menu.

Before lunch, White House assistant chef Sam Kass interviewed some of the kids in the same area the president uses to enter the East Room.

One of the items was Deborah Goncalves' Fake Fast Food, or Triple F. She told Kass it's made with bulgur wheat in the beef patty, and it has carrots and spinach sprinkled on top.

You might catch her interview and some of the others here. Some of the kids were particularly excited by Kass' suggestion that he might make some of their recipes for the president.

Eventually, the president himself stopped by the event.

"Now, I heard that there was a state dinner going on here—and usually I get invited to the state dinners. So this time I just had to crash the party because I did not want to miss out on all the fun," he told the crowd.

"I only have one request for you, and that is try not to drop any scraps on the floor because Bo... is on a diet right now," Obama said, "and he will eat anything that he sees, especially some of the tasty meals that you guys have prepared."

Photo: President Barack Obama shakes hands during the Kids' "State Dinner," hosted by first lady Michelle Obama on Aug. 20 in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

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