Tuesday, September 04, 2012

American Grown by Michelle Obama

I recently checked out a copy of Michelle Obama's book American Grown. It has a nice history of the White House gardens/lawns as well as covers Mrs. Obama's work in the current White House Garden.  As expected, it is mostly aimed to be a piece to help "sell" her project, which is community gardens, healthy eating and being active.  I also recently watched Robert Irvine's "White House Impossible," where he helped remodel a community kitchen and create a community garden for them. 

I have a few comments on the book. I expected the history (really liked that part) as well as the parts about her work - that's the point here.  I also really love the community garden movement in general, so I think this is a great topic.  After watching the "White House Impossible," which does have Mrs. Obama in it, one thing they really talked about was that these communities often don't have a lot of access to good grocery stores (and obviously money for groceries is an issue as well in many).  Community gardens can help supplement poor diets by adding in fresh produce. Okay, sounds good. So my biggest complaint about this book is actually the recipes. I was quite excited to try one as the White House chefs made them and the point was to make healthy food taste good. Win, win, right?  Well, no.  Honestly, the sweet potato bread (which I made three different ways) was NOT good.  It tasted like "health" food....not what I could convince my kids is "fun" food. The recipe also included items that I found esoteric, given what I learned from the Robert Irvine show (Greek yogurt, and THREE kinds of ginger) and expensive items (one of those forms of ginger is so expensive that I wouldn't buy it!).  So I really was disappointed in this section.  I think this would have been much better with recipes that have more general (and cheaper) ingredients and tasted better. I expected better from the White House kitchen.  Maybe some of the other recipes are better, but this one really turned me off.  I was very disappointed.  Anyone want some bad sweet potato bread? I have extra.....

So I applaud the goals of the community garden movement and what Mrs. Obama is trying to do, but I was very disappointed in some parts of this book.  But the history section was fun (at least to me).

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