Thursday, September 03, 2009

Breakfast menu for the Obama visit to Ghana 11 July 2009

Below is the menu provided to me by Barbara Baeta Bentsi-Enchill, the Executive Chairman and founder of Flair Catering Services in Ghana, of the breakfast buffet served to President and Mrs. Obama and their entourage at the Presidential Castle on 11 July 2009.

I've unsuccessfully scoured the Internet trying to locate ANY photos of the food or buffet lines. This omission seems to indicate a glaring lack of curiosity about or interest in Ghanaian cuisine displayed by the myriad photographers--all of the breakfast pictures show only the important dignitaries present, and I've not been able to find one that shows the food.

What an opportunity missed.


Tropical Fruit Juices (NOTE: I assume this would have included orange, pineapple, mango, papaya or similar juices). All of the items in bold will be found in our upcoming cookbook, and some are things I've already blogged about. I've included a couple of representative photos I've taken at Flair, but these ARE NOT from the July breakfast.

Variety of Tropical Fruits (Again, probably Ghana's fantastically sweet pineapples, along with papayas, mangos, soursop, melons, oranges, etc.).

Tom Brown (porridge made from toasted corn flour)
Hausa Koko (a spiced millet porridge)
Akra (a black-eyed pea fritter, aka kose, akara)
Beans Stew (a stew often made with smoked fish and red beans or black-eyed peas and eaten with ripe plantain)
Fried Plantain (probably ripe or "red" plantain slices)
Waakye with Meat Stew (rice and black-eyed peas with a meat stew made with tomatoes, onions, probably beef, etc.)
Galifoto (also known as "gari foto," a one-pot made from cassava meal similar to Brazil's farofa)
Oto with Boiled Eggs (a traditional dish made from mashed yam, onion and palm oil garnished with hard-boiled eggs)
Individual Steaks of Fried Fish (while Ghanaians often eat tilapia, Barbara said they used grouper steaks for this meal)
Abolo (a baked corn dough and flour or sweet potato dough; another version omo abolo is made from rice) & Kenkey (steamed soured corn dough balls)
Shito (pepper sauce)
Scrambled Eggs with Bacon
Grilled Tomatoes & Sausages
Brown & White Rolls
Assorted Jams & Marmalade
Hot Chocolate

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Flair Cooks for Obamas in Ghana

I telephoned my colleague Barbara Baeta of Flair Catering in Ghana (and my collaborator on our upcoming Ghanaian cookbook, the recipes of which are appearing in development on Betumiblog regularly) to find out if she could help me discover what the Obama family was served during their stay in Accra in July. It turns out the one State meal catered for them was breakfast, and her own Flair Catering was selected to provide that meal (for 600 people)! She's sending me the menu tomorrow (Thursday), so check back to find out what was served. Barbara was quick to point out that she knows what Flair served, but not what the Obamas themselves actually ate.

She compared the security there in 2009 to that when she cooked for President Jimmy Carter (pre 9/11)--then it was much looser, and she was able to chat with the President; this time, though she was a few yards away from President Obama, and saw his wife come down, she was unable to meet them and security soon hustled everyone away. Plus, there were meetings going on upstairs, where Flair also set up a buffet table, but she doesn't know if President Obama actually tried any of the food or not. A combination of Ghanaian and European food was served.

Barbara commented to me that some of the culinary
reporting was inaccurate. Among other things, they got her name wrong and called her "Henrietta." Also, while kenkey was part of the buffet, tilapia was not ("I wasn't going to take a chance on all those bones."). Instead, she said, they prepared grouper fillets. I hope she'll be able to get some pictures of the tables, too. She said everything looked lovely, but security was so tight there was no way for her to photograph anything herself. For some photographs I took at Flair's 40th birthday party in 2008, go to BETUMI's flickr account.

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