October 15th, 2013
07:15 PM ET
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The partial government shutdown has left the White House garden overrun with weeds, with fewer gardeners to maintain first lady Michelle Obama's pride.

Regular maintenance has stopped on the garden and only periodic watering is being done, a White House official confirmed to CNN. That's consistent with landscaping being performed on all National Park Service areas crippled by the shutdown throughout the country.
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Filed under: Gardening • Gardening • Michelle Obama • White House


October 14th, 2013
11:30 PM ET
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Getting out of her car, the wife of a furloughed government worker walked toward a small building full of free food.

She approached the door with her head down. An attendant asked for her name, she looked up and began to sob.
"It's ok, it's not your fault," the volunteer said as she wrapped her arms around the crying woman.
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Filed under: Hunger • Shutdown • White House


October 11th, 2013
06:15 PM ET
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The Congressional stalemate has claimed its latest casualty: beer.

The craft beer industry is overseen by the Alcohol, Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau. The TTB is charge of approving labels for new beer products sold across state lines and inspection for new breweries. Consequently, new beer and new business are not rolling out during the shutdown.
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Filed under: Beer • Food Politics • Shutdown • Sip • White House


October 11th, 2013
10:30 AM ET
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Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.

I’ve read that drinking is up around Washington, D.C., since the beginning of the government shutdown on October 1.

I understand that. Just hearing about the shutdown makes me want to reach for some alcohol. But as the shutdown stretches on, I keep thinking about furloughed workers. Some sympathetic chefs around the country are thinking about them too, and are offering free lunch to federal workers. Yay for them and their decision to support workers who have stopped getting paychecks.

What these chefs are divided on is how to feed Congress: One place has launched a Congress Chicken special; another says: “members of congress not eligible for free pizza until you get your s**t together.”
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Donna Brazile: Food stamps are a cruel cut
September 23rd, 2013
04:30 PM ET
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Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor and a Democratic strategist, is vice chairwoman for voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee. She is a nationally syndicated columnist, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and author of "Cooking With Grease: Stirring the Pot in America." She was manager for the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000.

We are in the middle of a fight to preserve the dignity and grace that makes all of us Americans. We have big hearts and great souls. I know. I have seen them, felt them and watched them in wonder when my family was lost and unreachable in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

I cried, worrying for those I loved, heartbroken by what happened to our beloved Louisiana. And in the middle of that tough moment, the decency of people shone through in e-mails, phone calls and in person. Everybody was saying the same thing: "How can I help?"
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Filed under: Food Politics • Human Rights • Hunger • SNAP • White House


President Obama shares a White House seder
March 26th, 2013
11:15 AM ET
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President Barack Obama marked the start of Passover Monday night with a Seder at the White House. It's a yearly tradition for the president that began on the campaign trail in 2008.

"This has been a very, very powerful event for the president," Deputy White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday, adding that Obama planned to use the Seder plate given to him by Sara Netanyahu last week during his trip to Israel.
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National drink wine day AND Presidents' Day
February 18th, 2013
09:00 AM ET
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While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.

Wine rules! Appropriately enough, February 18 is both Presidents' Day and National Drink Wine Day.

It might be coincidence that Presidents' Day and National Wine Day coincide, but our nation’s leaders would probably find it fitting. That’s because since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, American presidents have enjoyed drinking wine. So much so that our Founding Fathers celebrated the event with glasses of Madeira.

Not every president enjoyed wine, some preferred spirits and some like Lincoln didn’t drink much at all.
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Filed under: Breakfast Buffet • Food Holidays • News • Presidents Day • White House


Berrong on Beer - This inauguration, in hops we trust
January 18th, 2013
02:30 PM ET
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Nathan Berrong works at CNN's satellite desk and writes Eatocracy's beer column, "Berrong on Beer." He Tweets at @nathanberrong and logs beers at Untappd.

Monday marks the 57th Presidential Inauguration, where President Obama will once again assume the duties as commander in chief. Many people will judge President Obama’s next four years on how well he handles issues like gun control, the economy, education and our involvement in the Middle East. But for me, I’ll be judging his presidency on what the future holds for the next White House beer.

Last year, the White House released recipes for two of its home-brewed beers under the Freedom of Information Act. When the recipes were released, complete with a video showing the brewing process, I learned a very important thing about our President - the man cares about his beer! And, he shares three very important things that all Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Independent and Green Party craft beer drinkers care about - where the beer is from, how the beer is made and the quality of the beer.
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Filed under: Beer • Berrong on Beer • Sip • White House


Hungry students win campaign for more robust lunches
December 12th, 2012
02:30 PM ET
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Editor's note: The Empowered Patient is a regular feature from CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen that helps put you in the driver's seat when it comes to health care.

In a battle over healthier school lunches that pitted the Obama administration against school children, chalk up a point for the kids.

Students have been complaining that some of their favorite foods were taken off the plate because of the Obama administration's efforts to make school lunches healthier.
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