We’ve been preparing for the Indian State Dinner all week: setting up the tent alone was a huge chore. It’s almost as big as the Big White, which I guess isn’t big enough for our parties any more.
But today was an absolute nightmare. First we had to deal with the high strung celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson who, as it turns out, knows nothing about Indian food. North Africa? No problem. Swedish? Got it covered. Vegetarian southern Indian? Not a clue. Honestly, who’s in charge around here? But no matter, we just cleaned out whatever was left laying around in the garden and slapped some curry gravy on it. Here’s a partial menu:
Potato and Eggplant Salad
White House Arugula with Onion Seed Vinaigrette
Red Lentil Soup with Fresh Cheese
Roasted Potato Dumplings with Tomato Chutney
Chick Peas and Okra
or Green Curry Prawns with caramelized salsify with smoked Collard Greens
and coconut aged basmati
That’s not really dinner; more like garden compost. But no one will notice. The New York Times will be raving for weeks about the edgy fare: “Inspired.” “Creatively vegetarian.” Creatively pathetic, IMHO. I sent out for pizza after everyone split. The secret service guys were very grateful.
The guest list was pretty touchy too, since everybody wanted to come, especially all the rich American Desis. And Hollywood is always a problem for these events: they think all they have to do is call the day before and remind the social secretary how much money they gave Big Guy.Then there was the problem with Oprah’s invitation going missing, just after I thought everything was back on track.
But tech support was superb.In fact we haven’t seen this much tech support since the Democratic primaries.Everyone around here was asking for help with their iPod apps. Even TOTUS was a bit of pest; he wanted one of the tech specialists to take a look at his back up hard drive, which has been sending unauthorized messages to one of his channels.
But let’s just cut to the chase: it was a very busy day, with many wardrobe changes. Here are the highlights chronologically.
Morning, tangerines and limes:
Afternoon,Champagne J.Crew snowflakes, first seen with the Queen. New belt and skirt though:
Evening. Naeem Kahn – Indian born American based designer. Oh, how clever of Lady M! “The dress is entirely handmade, requiring three weeks of work by 40 people, completed in Naeem Kahn's family workshop in India.” So that’s another 40 jobs created or saved right there.
The O’s, pictured here in the portico with Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, and his wife, Gursharan Kaur. They look like they just saw the dinner menu.
I could be mistaken, since I’ve only been here since Ronnie and Nancy, but I believe the only other FLOTUS to go strapless at a state dinner was Jackie. But I’m sure that’s just one of those weird cosmic coincidences. I’m absolutely positive Rosalind never went strapless.
I think, given the parameters I have to work with, I did a pretty darn good job with this. The only tricky part was getting MO squirmed into the Spanx body suit, but it was worth it. After all, even a high-tech mirror needs a little help sometimes. (OK,OK. Raj from tech support boosted my trans-imaging abilities too. But a mirror’s gotta do what a mirror’s gotta do. It’s a jungle out here.)