The First Dinner of the Rest of Your Life

Filed under: Nutrition: Health

Welcome to Dishing it Out, ParentDish's weekly food column. Katie Workman lives in New York City with her husband and two boys, Jack and Charlie. By day she is the Editor-in Chief of the recipe website You can read all of the Dishing it Out posts here.

Today when I left for work, Charlie (age 6) asked me if I was making a special dessert tonight, for the inauguration. I said, um, sure. He said, "Great. Make a cake, frost Obama's face onto it, and then have light come out from all over behind his head."

Still basking in the glow of the wonderful historic moment that has just unfolded, my thoughts naturally turn What does one EAT with one's family, as the first inaugural lunch? That's a lot of weight to put on a sandwich. No, clearly a foot-long sandwich isn't going to cut it, especially when one is inviting 200 close friends and family to share in the landmark meal.

Well, here's what the Obamas and guests are eating: seafood stew in puff pastry, duck breast with cherry chutney, herb roasted pheasant with wild rice stuffing, molasses whipped sweet potatoes, a medley of vegetables, and cinnamon apple sponge cake. Many of the foods are those that Obama's hero President Lincoln enjoyed. Now, I don't want to be a wet blanket, and think the menu sounds lovely in a post-Pilgrim-ish sort of way, but it doesn't strike me as the most kid-friendly meal (not that it should!). And tastes evolving over the years as they have, perhaps duck breast with cherry chutney isn't on Malia and Sasha's top five favorite food list (though I would be happy to be proved wrong).

But what's for dinner? My family (who, just to be clear, are not amongst the invitees) would be happy with a bowl of Barack Obama's chili. He has shared his recipe with the press, though says -- like many chefs do -- that he can't reveal all of his secrets. But having made any number of chilis over the years, I certainly think this one looks great -- straightforward, kid-friendly, and, as our brand new president says, "If you make it right, it's just got the right amount of bite, the right amount of oomph in it, and it will clear your sinuses."

My fellow citizens, it is my honor to present to you, the President of the United States' Chili.


1 large onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

Several cloves of garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound ground turkey or beef

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/4 teaspoon ground basil

1 tablespoon chili powder

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Several tomatoes, depending on size, chopped

1 can red kidney beans


Sauté onions, green pepper and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add ground meat and brown. Combine spices together into a mixture, then add to ground meat. Add red wine vinegar. Add tomatoes and let simmer, until tomatoes cook down. Add kidney beans and cook for a few more minutes.

Serve over white or brown rice. Garnish with grated cheddar cheese, onions and sour cream.

For tons of great family-friendly recipes from amazing chefs and cookbook authors, please visit

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.