July 21st, 2014
12:45 PM ET
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She chops. She sautés. She whips up whole healthy meals.

Eleven-year-old Esther Matheny is a natural when it comes to the kitchen, using her cooking skills and creativity to contribute to her family's dinner table in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

This spring, she won a chance to represent her state at the White House Kids' State Dinner by creating and submitting a recipe for Michelle Obama and the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, a contest co-sponsored by food site Epicurious. Winners from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands were invited to attend the dinner.

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Filed under: Kids • Video • White House


National security, policy making and ketchup packets
July 14th, 2014
05:00 PM ET
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On America’s 190th birthday in 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the “Freedom of Information Act,” a law he described as crucial to the democratic principles of our country.

And FOIA, as it now known, has since become a cornerstone of government openness and individual rights, and was most recently renewed in 2014.

The idea is simple: provide American citizens with information and space to complain regarding the country’s most pressing issues: national security, policy making and ketchup packets.

Yes, ketchup packets.
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July 1st, 2014
05:00 PM ET
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You don't hear this every day at the White House.

President Barack Obama praised retiring White House executive pastry chef Bill Yosses as the "Crustmaster" for his delicious pies, at an event Monday to celebrate LGBT Pride Month.
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Filed under: Michelle Obama • Pie • President Obama • White House


May 27th, 2014
06:30 PM ET
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Editor's note: 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 Pots in America." She was manager for the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

It's been a long time. A very long time. But I cannot forget my first school lunch.
Call it free or call it charity, but it was a good meal that provided me, and so many others, with sustenance that made our school days more delightful. Our meals honored the traditions of the time - red beans and rice with smoked sausage, bread and perhaps dessert. And of course every Friday we had fish sticks, potato salad or French fries.

We've come a long way since then. Today, most public school children get perfectly balanced meals. School chefs use food selected to provide maximum nutrition, food that will enhance a student's well-being and learning abilities. Their standards come from federal nutrition experts in the U.S. Department of Agriculture who survey what important foods are missing from children's diets.
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