According to a Freedom of Information Act request from CBS News, Americans have paid out $1.5 million to feed the Obama family and their guests as they entertain Heads of State at the White House. That number is, of course, hardly surprising. A good state dinner should run you into the hundreds of thousands lest that person’s country encounter a faux pas or a bad potato, thus destabilizing an otherwise natural and congenial diplomatic relationship. Plus, the Obama Administration has, through State Dinners, unwittingly launched at least one reality television career. So it practically pays for itself.
This time, however, the White House hosted newly-elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a dinner that cost approximately half a million, even though the guest of honor didn’t eat a single bite. While the President’s entourage dined on fresh halibut, roti crisps, saffron basmati rice and mango creme brulee, PM Mondi drank a glass of warm water, in observance of a nine-day ritualistic fast.