Another grandmother in the next First Family is now in the news. When the Obamas move to Washington in January, they’ll be taking Michelle Obama’s mother with them. Marian Robinson, 71, described as “the most important addition to the new White House team,” has taken care of Malia, ten, and Sasha, seven, while their parents campaigned, and she’ll continue to give grandmotherly care after President-elect Obama takes office. This will be the first time in living memory that three generations of a new presidential family will have moved together to the capital.
Like other caregiving grannies, Mrs. Robinson has been driving the girls to school, gymnastics, ballet and soccer practice; and supervising their homework. She has also prepared many meals, which sometimes have consisted of fried chicken, cooked by her own recipe. One of the casualties of her sudden ascension to the limelight is the secrecy of her recipe. Journalists have pried loose some of her closely held secrets, including using crumbled Ritz crackers in the batter, bathing the chicken pieces in ice water before frying to make it crispier, adding salt literally, and using “lots of oil.” Now, I wonder whether the Presidential chef will be able to make it as well, or will Granny have to go into the White House kitchen herself?
And although Grandma mostly pays attention to their mom’s strictures, she doesn’t always limit the girls to only one hour of TV a day or make sure they go to bed by 8:30. She has said, “I have candy, they stay up late – come to my house, they watch TV as long as they want to, we’ll play games until the wee hours. I do everything that grandmothers do that they’re not supposed to.” There is something about granny privilege.
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