Saturday, January 31, 2009

~New White House Style

We know change has already started at the White House just by checking out Mrs. O’s recent activities. Her schedule has been busy and her approach has been refreshingly open. On January 22, just two days after the inauguration, Mrs. O threw her premiere First Lady party: the entire White House staff - 90 people including plumbers, florists, and cleaning staff - was invited to the East Room for a get-together.

The guests were encouraged to mingle and get to know one another as well as the new First Lady, who wore a casual black short-sleeved sweater with a gray tweed skirt and oversized pearl earrings. Her hair was sleek and pulled back in a low bun. (This New York Times article details how President Obama, evidently following suit, is unbuttoning the formal dress code in the West Wing.)

And there was a surprise for Mrs. O at this party: another birthday cake, this time presented to her by the staff. (On the train ride to Washington, D.C., on January 17, there had been two large sheet cakes-one vanilla with chocolate icing, one chocolate with vanilla icing-on board for everyone to celebrate Mrs. O’s big day.)

Of course, there is much to celebrate recently but we know, in general, that the O family doesn’t indulge in a let-us-eat-cake snacking habit. Mrs. O has long stated that she is very interested in promoting healthy eating for her family. This lifestyle was just reinforced yesterday when it was announced that Sam Kass, a 28-year-old private chef from Chicago, has now joined the White House staff. Filling a vacancy, he will be a White House employee, paid by the government; he will be working as assistant chef along side executive chef Cristeta Comerford, who assumed that job in 2005.