Looking for a Trump Doctrine in the White House Kitchen
Like farmers eyeing the sky for a welcome rain cloud, people have been peering through the White House fence at the organic kitchen garden, searching for signs of activity.
During the Obama administration, the garden’s heirloom vegetables and stream of visiting chefs and schoolchildren became a stage set for Michelle Obama, who built her legacy on promoting good cooking, healthful eating and exercise. The 2,800-square-foot collection of raised beds became such a potent political symbol that after the fall election, protesters brandished signs demanding that the new administration keep its hands off both their genitalia and the garden.
To the great relief of chefs and other supporters of the garden, Melania Trump has announced that she will keep it going. But they are still waiting for more definitive signs of how the Trumps will feed themselves and their guests, and whether they will set — as previous administrations have — a culinary example for the nation.
By virtue of tradition and archaic gender roles, the complex work of managing food for the White House has fallen to the first lady. But Mrs. Trump has no plans to move to Washington until the summer and has said little publicly about what she expects or wants from the cooking and entertaining staff.
“Without a hands-on first lady, they’re just pumping out food and seeing what the reaction is,” said Adrian Miller, a lawyer turned food writer who was a special assistant to President Bill Clinton and whose new book, “The President’s Kitchen Cabinet,” examines the role African-Americans have played in every White House kitchen.
“如果没有一个亲力亲为的第一夫人，他们会自己拿主意，做出饭菜后再看反应如何，”原为律师、现在是美食作家的阿德里安·米勒(Adrian Miller)说，他曾是比尔·克林顿总统的特别助理，在新书《总统的厨房内阁》(The President’s Kitchen Cabinet)中，他研究了非裔美国人在每一届白宫的厨房中发挥的作用。
“Usually, the food suffers when the first lady is uninterested,” Mr. Miller added. “Eleanor Roosevelt was a great example. The food was so bad people actually thought about eating first before going to the White House.”
Mrs. Trump only recently brought on additional staff members to help arrange state dinners and other official meals at the White House, the first of which was the black-tie Governors Ball on Sunday. In past administrations, details down to the provenance of the flatware were made public. Not so this year. However, The New York Times obtained a menu: East Coast salmon and a salad of spring peas with pickled ramps, roasted rib-eye steaks from Virginia and Boston cream pie with vanilla ice cream.
The first couple prefers entertaining at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump’s resort in Palm Beach, Fla. Mr. Trump, a bacon-and-eggs man who likes his steaks well done and perceives fast food as both efficient and sanitary, takes some of his meals in the White House mess, a small staff dining hall near the Situation Room in the West Wing. Mrs. Trump, who had a robust career in modeling, is a champion of drinking water and eating a lot of fruit.
Mr. Trump clearly understands the theatrical and symbolic power of food. During the campaign, he declared his preference for Kentucky Fried Chicken and taco bowls — the latter, apparently, as a way to appeal to Hispanic voters. He has said that there will be no dinners honoring heads of state as long as the United States has a trade deficit.
特朗普很清楚食物具有什么样的戏剧性和象征性力量。在竞选期间，他曾宣布自己偏爱肯德基(Kentucky Fried Chicken)和墨西哥玉米卷沙拉——后者显然是作为一种吸引西语裔选民的方式。他还表示，只要美国还存在贸易顺差，就不会举办招待国家元首的国宴。
Mr. Trump keeps copies of menus from important events, including the card from his January lunch with the British prime minister, Theresa May, which featured his favorite wedge salad with blue cheese, beef ribs and salted crème brûlée.
Cultural pundits have long debated whether the food at the White House shapes how the nation eats, or vice versa.
There is evidence for both. Mamie Eisenhower, a military wife enamored with the convenience foods popular in the 1950s, oversaw a thrifty White House kitchen, demanding that the staff make smart use of leftovers. Jacqueline Kennedy hired a French chef and remade White House dining, though public opinion forced her to start serving American wine and writing menus in English rather than French. Ronald and Nancy Reagan helped popularize elegant dining and Jelly Bellies, while George and Barbara Bush favored casual dining and pork rinds.
这两方面都有证据。迷恋上世纪50年代受欢迎的方便食品的军人妻子玛米·艾森豪威尔(Mamie Eisenhower)打造了一个节俭的白宫厨房，她要求员工聪明地利用剩饭剩菜。杰奎琳·肯尼迪(Jacqueline Kennedy)聘用一位法国主厨，重塑了白宫的饮食，不过后来迫于舆论压力开始提供美国红酒，用英文而非法文写菜单。罗纳德(Ronald)和南希·里根(Nancy Reagan)使优雅进餐流行开来，乔治(George)和芭芭拉·布什(Barbara Bush)则喜欢随意一些的饮食，偏好脆猪皮。
The kitchen garden, which has produced 2,000 pounds of food a year, planted a flag for the farmers’ market crowd. Its bounty became diplomatic gifts, with Mr. Obama handing out honey from the hives, tea bags made from chamomile and carved wooden boxes of seeds, one of which he gave to Pope Francis.
Although a large garden paving stone bears Mrs. Obama’s name and her call to grow a healthier nation for America’s children, there is no reason Mrs. Trump couldn’t put her own stamp on the garden, said George Ball, the chairman and chief executive of the Burpee seed company. His company and the Burpee Foundation have pledged $2.5 million to the National Park Foundation to keep the garden tended for at least 17 years.
伯比(Burpee)种子公司董事长兼首席执行官乔治·鲍尔(George Ball)表示，尽管这个大菜园里铺有刻着奥巴马夫人名字的石头，而且她曾呼吁为了美国的儿童在全国种植更健康的食品，但这不意味着特朗普夫人就不能给这个花园打上自己的烙印。他的公司和伯比基金会已经承诺给国家公园基金会(National Park Foundation)提供250万美元资金，以保证这个菜园在至少17年里得到照料。
He has urged Mrs. Trump to turn the garden into a showplace for Slovenian produce, the star of which would be the Raka red onion. It’s a hybrid that her maternal grandfather created by crossbreeding an Egyptian red onion with a local Slovenian onion from the town of Ptuj. It is named after his home village, which is known for its onions.
Mrs. Trump, whose mother left her work harvesting those onions for a job in a textile mill, does not appear to be particularly connected to her agricultural roots. But Mr. Ball plans to have seeds imported from Slovenia to present to her by the summer, and hopes he can persuade the first family to embrace vegetables, a point he has made in the opinion pages of some daily newspapers.
“You have a very high pressure job so, Mr. Trump, you will get far more nutrition from more fresh vegetables,” he said in an interview.