US first lady pro­motes key topic in Mi­lan: eat­ing wisely

The China Post - - LIFE - BY COLLEEN BARRY

Michelle Obama took her cam­paign for healthy eat­ing over­seas on Wed­nes­day, but let it slip that she still has work to do at home.

The U. S. first lady pre­pared a len­til, bar­ley and rice salad with mid­dle school stu­dents at the James Beard Amer­i­can Res­tau­rant in Mi­lan, the sec­ond leg of a Euro­pean tour that pro­motes some of her core ini­tia­tives, in­clud­ing eat­ing well to fight obe­sity.

Mrs. Obama em­pha­sized to the 20 in­ter­na­tional stu­dents from the Amer­i­can School of Mi­lan the im­por­tance of sit­ting down for a meal with the fam­ily as of­ten as pos­si­ble. She said that the pres­i­dent al­ways takes time for din­ner with the fam­ily, and that tak­ing time to talk about the day’s events over din­ner was one way to slow down and be con­scious of eat­ing.

“And you prob­a­bly eat less be­cause you are not just shov­el­ing. ... We don’t shovel. Well, the pres­i­dent shov­els some­times,” the first lady said to laugh­ter.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple lined the streets of Mi­lan to catch a glimpse of her mo­tor­cade as it trav­eled from the res­tau­rant near the Duomo in the heart of the city to the Santa Maria delle Gra­zie church. There, in keep­ing with the food theme, the first lady and her en­tourage viewed Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.”

Mrs. Obama’s teenage daugh­ters Malia and Sasha and her mother, Mar­ian Robin­son, joined her for the cul­tural out­ing. They were greeted out­side by Ital­ian Premier Mat­teo Renzi, his wife Agnes and 9- year- old daugh­ter Es­ter.

Mrs. Obama leaned over to give the Ren­zis’ daugh­ter a hug, and Malia Obama waved to her and said “Nice to meet you.”

Es­ter Renzi laughed off a stum­ble as they walked to­ward the church to see the fresco, as the Obama daugh­ters reached out to help her.

Mrs. Obama is lead­ing a pres­i­den­tial del­e­ga­tion to the Expo 2015 world’s fair that tack­les is­sues sur­round­ing food and nutri­tion, dove­tail­ing with her fo­cus on fight­ing child­hood obe­sity through her five- year- old “Let’s Move” pro­gram.

The first lady said the del­ega- tion, which in­cludes star chef Mario Batali, ur­ban farmer Will Allen and seven- time NBA Al­lS­tar Alonzo Mourn­ing, would be meet­ing with peo­ple from other coun­tries at Expo to dis­cuss ways to tackle is­sues of health and nutri­tion.

At the James Beard res­tau­rant, Mrs. Obama took a hand­son ap­proach, slic­ing chicken and mix­ing vinai­grette for the mixed grain and pasta salad while chat­ting with a group of stu­dent helpers about their sports ac­tiv­i­ties.

“I’m multi- task­ing here,” she said. “That is what you do when you cook.”

Mrs. Obama said they could help fight obe­sity by help­ing to cook at home and know­ing where the food on the ta­ble came from. She also had what may have been un­wel­come, if fa­mil­iar, news: “You gotta eat your veg­eta­bles,” she told them. “Sorry about that.”

Af­ter sit­ting down to eat with the stu­dents, she signed each of their school aprons, which were spe­cially made for the oc­ca­sion.

On Thurs­day, Mrs. Obama will visit the Ital­ian and U. S. pavil­ions at Expo, meet­ing a group of Ital­ian chil­dren and stu­dent am­bas­sadors from the U. S.

Her over­seas trip con­tin­ues Fri­day with a visit to U. S. troops sta­tioned in Vi­cenza, north­ern Italy. Her fi­nal stop will be Venice, where she has more cul­tural out­ings, in­clud­ing a visit to the award- win­ning U. S. Pav­il­ion at the Venice Bi­en­nale con­tem­po­rary art show.

AP

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama par­tic­i­pates in a cook­ing demon­stra­tion at the James Beard Amer­i­can Res­tau­rant with Ital­ian and Amer­i­can mid­dle school stu­dents in Mi­lan, Italy on Wed­nes­day, June 17.

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