Michelle Obama is “Becoming” a breakfast lover, but she didn’t use to be such a big fan.
On Aug. 16, Obama was on the inaugural episode of “Your Mama’s Kitchen,” an Audible Original podcast hosted by journalist Michele Norris. At the start of each episode, Norris asks her guest, “Tell me about your mama’s kitchen.”
To answer, the former first lady talked about growing up in a working class family on Chicago’s South Side, eating her mom’s meatloaf, spaghetti and meatballs, and more, and her early views on breakfast, which might be a bit surprising to people who crave a big pile of pancakes in the morning.
“I was kind of a picky eater. I didn’t like any breakfast, anything,” Obama (née Robinson) told Norris after being asked if the Robinsons were a big breakfast family. “Me, Michelle, was not. Everybody else was and thought I was crazy.”
Obama said her brother, “who ate everything all the time,” thought she was out of her mind about not responding positively to the first meal of the day. “We had big breakfasts because my brother, he’s a growing athlete,” Obama said.
Obama said her family spread had everything: cereal, scrambled or fried eggs, “lots” of toast, bacon and sausage — and out of all of that, Obama liked only the sausage. “You know, I was at a time my mother tried to force me to eat breakfast, but I was really stubborn. I didn’t like bacon. I hated eggs,” Obama explained.
“You didn’t like bacon?!” Norris replied, clearly astonished.
“I didn’t like bacon, sausage, all of the breakfast food,” Obama said, before revealing a breakfast bombshell. “So what did I eat? Peanut butter and jelly. Every morning until I went to college.”
When Norris asked if the typical childhood lunch was a protest against breakfast culture, Obama said she just really liked peanut butter and jelly.
“It was sort of a compromise that I made with my mother because I thought, well, it’s got peanuts, it’s protein, a little bit of oil,” Obama explained. “Nothing’s wrong with bread. If we’re having toast, why can’t I have it in a sandwich form? And jelly. Everybody was having jelly on their toast. Let me just put it on my peanut butter. She gave up. And I literally ate peanut butter and jelly every morning for most of my life, literally until I was in college.”
Obama said that in her early adulthood, she started liking eggs, but only sort of. “I despised breakfast,” she said.
But now, at age 59, “The Light We Carry” author shared that she’s now a breakfast fan.
“Oh, yeah. I’m big into all of it now … give me eggs Benedict,” Obama said. “Any eggs any way.”
Then Norris asked if Obama still sneaks off to have a PB&J sometimes.
“You know, I think I kind of OD’d on it. I don’t, I don’t do it anymore,” Obama said, saying she still gets the occasional craving, but now has a very good reason for abstaining. “(We) don’t keep it around. Because also Malia was allergic to peanuts.”
Obama also talks about her mom’s birthday cakes — including ones she tried to bake in the White House — and red rice, a traditional Gullah low country dish, similar to West African jollof rice. “That’s home for me,” she says.
This is far from the first time Obama has shared her and her family’s love of food. In 2021, ahead of the premiere of the show “Waffles and Mochi,” she shared her secret to making the best cheese toast. Obama also shared the three things her husband, former President Obama, knows how to cook: “a mean chili,” “a good stir-fry” and “great omelets,” which might just be the reason she enjoys eggs now.