As promised, our First Lady Michelle Obama has published her first book. It is a book about gardening, and if “The Help” is any indication, it is sure to be a bestseller, because isn’t it probably the same thing, except with Mexicans? Apparently, no! “Michelle’s Secret Garden,” as we like to call it, or “American Grown,” as it is actually called, tells the story of the White House Kitchen Garden. It also offers gardening tips, and “the story of how, together, in gardens large and small, we have begun to grow a healthier nation.” Because this new book costs over twenty dollars and Amazon.com is not yet accepting food stamps, the actual contents of the book will remain a mystery to most of the country, including your FLOTUS correspondent, who is not about to spend thirty dollars on a book about vegetables when the ice cream shelf in her freezer is running low on supplies. Thankfully, an excerpt from the book is available online, so we’ll just read that and use our imaginations to come up with the rest.
“American Grown” begins with Michelle Obama looking up at the sky. She was probably on a balcony, wearing some sort of gown.
On March 20, 2009, I was like any other hopeful gardener with a pot out on the windowsill or a small plot by the back door. I was nervously watching the sky. Would it freeze? Would it snow? Would it rain? I had spent two months settling into a new house in a new city. My girls had started a new school; my husband, a new job. My mother had just moved in upstairs. And now I was embarking on something I had never attempted before: starting a garden.
But this was not going to be just any garden— it would be a very public garden. Cameras would be trained on its beds, and questions would be asked about what we had planted and why we had planted it. The garden was also being planted on a historic landscape: the South Lawn of the White House. Here even the tomatoes and beans would have a view of the towering Washington Monument.
“Just how socialist is that arugula?” is her favorite question, she probably says, later in the book.
And over the past three years, our White House Kitchen Garden has bloomed into so much more. It’s helped us start a new conversation about the food we eat and how it affects our children’s health. It’s helped us raise awareness about our crisis of childhood obesity and the threat it poses to our children’s future. And it led to the creation of Let’s Move!, a nationwide initiative to solve this problem so our children can grow up healthy.
So there is your Michelle Obama gardening book: “I started this garden, and you can start a garden, or you can continue your reign over that booth at the Cheesecake Factory. It’s your funeral.” In addition to the brief excerpt, there is a salad recipe featured on the Good Morning America web site, buried somewhere under a giant picture of ribs and Emeril’s Fried Chicken and Buttermilk Waffles. [ABC News]