- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 5, 2014

As President Obama hosts a sumptuous, high-calorie feast Tuesday night for African leaders and nearly 400 other guests at the White House, a nonprofit group is urging the attendees not to forget the starving people in South Sudan.

Action Against Hunger said more than 7 million South Sudanese are suffering from famine brought on by floods and political strife.

“The level of malnourished children is shocking,” said Colin McIlreavy, the group’s director of operations. “The conflict has prevented families from reaching their fields to grow crops or tend their cattle and consequently a huge portion of the population doesn’t have enough to eat.”

South Sudan President Salva Kiir is among the guests of Mr. Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the four-course dinner, being held under a tent on the South Lawn of the White House.

The mouth-watering menu with an African flair includes chilled tomato soup flavored with toasted cumin and socca crisps, garnished with a chickpea fritter; a chopped vegetable salad, served with sour cream dressing or onion pumpkinseed vinaigrette; grilled, aged Wagyu beef from Texas marinated in chermoula with paprika, olive oil and garlic; crispy plantains and braised summer greens; sweet potatoes and coconut milk.

For dessert, guests will dine on cappuccino fudge cake with Madagascar vanilla, scented papaya and salted caramel fudge sauce.

Guests whose faith allows them to imbibe alcohol will be served a 2010 Vision Cellars Pinot Noir, a 2013 Black Coyote sauvignon blanc and a Thibaut-Janisson brut, “Monticello.”

White House executive chef Cris Comerford is cooking more than 30 pounds of green beans from the first lady’s kitchen garden for the dinner. Grammy winner Lionel Richie will serenade the guests.

With more than 50 African leaders in attendance, the White House is not billing the event as a “state dinner,” but said Mr. Obama will chat individually with each of the leaders at some point during the evening.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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