The assignment was fraught with peril: prepare a state dinner for 225 guests at the White House that would please both Chinese president Hun Jintao and anti-obesity crusader and first lady Michelle Obama. So how come the menu served last week went retro, featuring 1970s-style Continental cuisine? There’s a lesson here for catering big parties. The challenge for White House chef Cristeta Comerford was to produce a meal that would be politically and nutritionally correct for guests from two ...

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