Many of us can relate to the experiences that come from having overprotective parents. There’s no such thing as privacy. Essentially: your business is their business. You better be ready to tell your papa where you’re going, your mama who with, at what time you’re doing what you’re doing and what for before you even think of making those plans. As tough as this parental interference seems, it’s nothing compared to what our former First Daughters had to go through while living in the White House.
In a recent interview, former First Lady Michelle Obama shared the intense security measures that had to be followed whenever daughters Sasha and Malia ventured outside their Washington DC home.
Twitter / @Essence
Over the 4th of July weekend, Gayle King interviewed the former First Lady at this year’s Essence Festival in New Orleans where she talked about the ever-present security. With both of her daughters officially adults, Obama explained that she and her husband, Barack, are now empty-nesters but they still remember what life was like in the White House. She shared in the interview that the strict Secret Service details weren’t just an everyday occurrence in her girls’ lives. They were also more than a little intimidating for the parents of Sasha and Malia’s friends.
“Imagine having Malia and Sasha come to your house for a sleepover,” Obama said during the interview. “It’s like, ‘Hello. OK, we’re going to need your Social Security number, we’re going to need your date of birth. There are going to be men coming to sweep your house. If you have guns and drugs, just tell them yes because they are going to find them anyway. Don’t lie. They’re not going to take them, they just need to know where they are. And, uh, thank you for having Malia and Sasha over. Oh and by the way, there is going to be a man with a gun sitting outside all night. If you let him use the bathroom, that would be nice.’”
This little peek into their White House lives wasn’t the only topic of interest in her interview. Obama talked a bit about the current political climate as well.
Twitter / @PoliticusSarah
During the 2016 Presidential Election, Obama famously shared her philosophy of “going high” when your opponents go for low blows. Considering the atrocities that the current administration is responsible for, some question the validity of that philosophy now.
“I get asked: ‘In this climate, how do you find it in yourself to go high?'” Obama explained. “Going high is a long-term strategy. The truth is, going high is about trying to get to the real answer. Because a lot of the times the low answer is just our immediate instinct.”
Both Barack and Michelle have been careful about criticizing Donald Trump and his presidency. However, during this interview, she shared how she felt at the 2017 Inauguration when the Obamas turned the country over to the controversy-filled Trump administration.
“To sit at that inauguration and to look around at a crowd that was not reflective of the country, and I had to sit in that audience as one of the handfuls of people of color, all that I had to hold on to,” the former First Lady confessed. “It was a lot emotionally.”
Obama’s stunning new look was also the talk of the festival.
Twitter / @PageSix
The former First Lady appeared at the festival in a sparkling midnight blue jumpsuit by American designer Sergio Hudson. Hudson is a favorite designer of such celebrities as Cardi B, Rihanna, and Amal Clooney. Meredith Koop, Obama’s stylist, shared with Page Six Style that the 55-year-old “wanted something less formal but still with the disco edge of the [Hudson’s most recent] collection.” The result is a classy, fun ensemble that made Obama look every bit as dazzling as ever.
The look was finished with oversized Djula white gold and diamond hoops and a new curly hairstyle with blonde highlights. During her days in the White House, Obama’s personal style was harshly criticized and she was expected to keep a more conservative look. To see her now living her best life and embracing her natural hair texture is a thing of beauty.
Her look received rave reviews from Twitter as well.
Twitter / @JaniceDeul
As this Twitter user reminds us, beauty is diverse. For Obama to proudly show the diversity of her hair is to tell girls and women with similar textures that their hair is also beautiful. This is an important reminder in an age when Black beauty is still often whitewashed.
This Twitter user was all of us when we saw that sparkly jumpsuit.
Twitter / @broccolirobin
Obama gave us some Disco Diva feels with this ensemble. We can only hope we look half as good in our 50’s as the former First Lady did at the Essence Festival. Post-White House living is definitely working for her.
As we reported a few days ago, Latin American chefs did pretty great at the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards in Singapore. Latin American fine cuisine got a total of nine spots in the list, and two in the top ten. This is quite an achievement for a region that is relatively new to fine dining. Cities like Mexico City and Lima have just become culinary epicenters thanks to visionaries that have translated tradition into modern masterpieces. However, credit is due to the centuries of cultural remix that has produced legendary dishes. Indigenous, colonial and other influences come together in the plate and wow judges and patrons. If these places have something in common, it is the inquisitive nature of their lead chefs. They went deep into the cultural roots of their countries, even finding new ingredients to achieve creativity and perfection.
We have to pay respect to the traditional recipes and the many years (and sometimes centuries) of experimentation by everyday cooks that led to these awards. So, we have listed some of the traditional influences that these restaurants have had. Sometimes it was all there already, and chefs just took it a step further! The restaurants in this list range from the high end to a Brazilian eatery that is relaxed and not expensive at all.
At number 6: Central (Lima, Peru), Best restaurant in South America, Influenced by: ancient, indigenous Peruvian food
This is the flagship restaurant of kitchen wizard Virgilio Martínez Véliz, who travels deep into each region of his home country to fund ancient ingredients. He collaborates with indigenous men and women to learn about traditional ways of cooking. He has introduced ingredients such as the Amazonian piranha into the menu. His drive to experiment has made him a celebrity chef the world over. You can learn about his journey in S3E6 of the Netflix show Chef’s Table.
At number 10: Maido (Lima, Peru), Influenced by: traditional Japanese cuisine with a Peruvian twist and local ingredients
A testament to the ethnic diversity of Peru. The Japanese immigration in Peru has been constant and has led this ethnic minority to have a vibrant place in the social, cultural and political life of the South American country. This restaurant is let my “Micha” Tsumura, who offers a Nikkei experience that includes classic Peruvian seafood such as sea urchin and sea snail. Lima is certainly keeping up with cities such as New York, Tokyo, and Paris, which are usually the leaders of the pack.
3. At number 12: Pujol (Mexico City, Mexico), Best Restaurant in North America, Influenced by: traditional Mexican food, particularly from Oaxaca
Enrique Olvera has established himself as one of the main voices of the global fine art circuit. In his flagship Mexico City restaurant he offers dishes that use indigenous ingredients, particularly from the colorful region of Oaxaca. His team makes tortillas by hand, grinding species of corn that are rare. Olvera is not shy to experiment with ingredients that might seem “weird” to Western patrons, such as chicatana ants. A delightful experience that needs to be tasted to be believed.
4. At number 23: Cosme (New York City), Influenced by: traditional Mexican garnachas
A New York restaurant with a 100% Mexican soul. Created by Olvera and led by Mexican chef Daniela Soto-Innes, who has revealed herself as a unique culinary voice and was named the World’s Best Female Chef 2019. She serves Modern Mexican food that is inspired by the crunchiness and glorious saltiness of Mexican street food, or garnachas. If you want to take your carnitas, infladitas, and tamales to the next level, then this is the place for you. Sinful delights all around. By the way, the kitchen is 50% female, which goes hand in hand with the chef’s ideas of equality. She also employs people from diverse ethnic backgrounds, both from the United States and overseas.
5. At number 24: Quintonil (Mexico City, Mexico), Influenced by: traditional Mexican cuisine
The brainchild of chef Jorge Vallejo (who used to work at Pujol) is a tribute to the postcolonial flavors of Mexico. If Pujol strived to bring back ancient recipes, Quintonil offers new interpretations of classic everyday dishes such as tostadas de cangrejo and the luxurious escamoles (ant eggs). Even dishes that your abuelita might have made, such as Huazontles or salpicon, are featured here. Look at their take on a flauta in the photo above.
6. At number 26: Boragó (Santiago, Chile), Influenced by: ingredients from Chile’s geographical diversity
Rodolfo Guzman is a raising rockstar. Like Peru’s Central, this restaurant features ingredients from every corner of the country. Rodolfo gets ingredients from the Atacama desert, all the way down to the frigid Patagonia landscapes. Have you ever tasted flowers? Well, here you can: the signature dishes is a blend of roasted flowers, Van Gogh style!
7. At number 34: Don Julio (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Influenced by: traditional asado techniques
They say that if you are going to do one thing, you do it the best you can. This restaurant led by Pablo Jesus Rivero might make the best steak in the world. Following the traditional ways of cooking meat in the Pampas, cuts like rump steak and skirt steak are cooked to perfection. Sweetbread empanadas are also a standout. The decor follows the aesthetic of a 19th-century country estancia, when European pioneers made their way into the depths of the nascent country.
8. At number 39: A Casa do Porco (São Paulo, Brazil), Influenced by: Brazilian working class cooking
Pork is a relatively easy stock to raise, and it has been a staple in the diets of Brazilians for centuries. Chef Jefferson Rueda reimagines everything you can do with pork. He raises the pigs on a diet of vegetables, slaughters them in house and uses every single part of the animal, making items such as blood sausages. The degustation menu is a culinary experience that also includes beans, cabbage, and banana, other staples of Brazilian home kitchens. The owners strive to make the restaurant accessible to the community, so prices are far from exorbitant. You can dine for $13 dollars.
9. At number 49: Leo (Bogotá, Colombia), Influenced by: indigenous uses of local fruits and vegetables
Chef Leonor Espinosa has become a celebrity thanks to her bubbly personality and her use of little known ingredients such as corozo fruit, arrechon (a supposed aphrodisiac) and bijao, a banana-like plant. She learns from communities and their gastronomic traditions, creating dishes that include, for example, a crunchy coating made from ants. The menu explores different Colombian animal and plant species. A map shows where each one was sourced. The chef also runs a foundation FUNLEO, which aims to identify, reclaim and enhance the culinary traditions in Colombian communities.