How US Laid Out Vegetarian Diplomacy On A Plate
When guests sat down for the state dinner and a luncheon that the US hosted for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they encountered an all-vegetarian meal: no meat, no eggs. That’s thanks to the guest of honour, who is strictly vegetarian.
From the gala dinner for 400 plus VIP guests, the largest, the White House has ever seen to the luncheon hosted by US Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doughlas Emoff along with Secretary Antony Blinken, America made it clear that the symbolism on the plates was intentional.
Khichadi served at a luncheon at the state department:
Using freshly procured seasonal American ingredients while incorporating nods to the cuisine of India. The state luncheon had the humble Kichadi made of millet, lentils and spiced Okra noodle, while the state dinner included marinated millet and grilled corn with compressed watermelon and tangy avocado sauce along with stuffed portobello mushrooms with a saffron-infused risotto in the main course.
The first lady of the United States, Jill Biden, said the aim was “honouring the 70 years of our alliance with symbols and moments of beauty that reflect both our countries.”
“We hope to showcase the harmony of our cultures and our people intertwined,” she said.
If guests so desired, they could request a fish dish — sumac-roasted sea bass — along with crisped millet cakes and summer squashes.
For the guests who do imbibe, one of the wines accompanying this week’s meal also paid particular homage to the ties between host and guest. A red blend came from Patel Winery in Napa Valley, which is owned by Raj Patel, who was born in India and settled in California as a boy. Other wines include a Sandhi Patterson Chandenmay 2020.
PM Modi was the third head of state to be welcomed with such prestige during the Biden administration, after France’s Emmanuel Macron and South Korea’s Yoon Suk-Yeol.
The decor too appeared to be another diplomatic aspect of the luncheon and dinner, encompassing the cultures of both countries while honouring PM Modi. Thursday night witnessed a decor including imagery of the peacock and the bald eagle, the Indian and U.S. national birds, respectively. The tables were adorned with peonies, that some mistook for lotus blooms, revered in Indian design and a symbol of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.
Samosa served with mint chutney and marigold flowers:
While the luncheon was a more formal and less colour affair, gold was the central theme along with fresh flowers used to enhance the overall look of the lunch served. For instance, the evergreen Samosas, stuffed with spinach and served with a tangy mint sauce wore a saffron marigold flower.
The star-studded meals witnessed the who’s who at the luncheon and state dinner:
Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and FedEx CEO Raj Subramaniam, Reliance Industry’s Mukesh and Nita Ambani, Zerodha co-founder Nikhil Kamath, and Anand Mahindra were among the attendees.
Jill Biden wearing an emerald green Ralph Lauren:
There was a deep emphasis on the colour green. With different variants of green drapes not just in the decor but also on what was being worn. Biden opted for a Ralph Lauren number – a custom-made emerald green gown featuring an off-the-shoulder neckline, gold shimmer, full sleeves, and a body-hugging silhouette. While Vice President Kamala opted for a gold Naeem Khan sequined gown, a necklace and heavy earrings. (ANI)
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