Obama claims broccoli is his favourite food at Kids' State Dinner

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - President Barack Obama likes burgers, hot dogs and such, but when it came time to answer a kid journalist's question about his favourite food, broccoli was the first word that sprang from his lips.

This revelation came on Tuesday at a White House event that recognised children who won a healthy recipe contest, as part of First Lady Michelle Obama's anti-obesity campaign.

Having fun with the children, Mr Obama agreed to take two questions from the journalists among them. The first asked what was Mr Obama's favourite food. Broccoli was the presidential reply, according to a White House aide.

This, from a politician who has literally eaten his way across the country: Burgers in a Washington suburb with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev; ribs in Asheville, North Carolina; hot dogs at a basketball game in Dayton, Ohio; and a tasty pastry called a kringle in Wisconsin.

Mr Obama's disclosure puts him starkly at odds with the culinary tastes of George HW Bush, who as president famously declared his dislike for broccoli.

"And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm president of the United States, and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli!" Mr Bush said in 1990.

Steamed broccoli growers shipped thousands of pounds of broccoli to the White House in protest, and the vegetable was farmed out to homeless shelters.

Mr Obama was clearly enjoying the spirit of the anti-obesity event, called the Kids' State Dinner, which recognised winning recipes like "picky eater pita pizza pockets" and "sweet potato turkey sliders".

"Food can be fun. It can be healthy," Mr Obama said. "You are setting up habits that are going to be great your entire life."

He joked that he's not much of a cook.

"(In) my family, when they cooked vegetables, they were all boiled."

Since then, he said, he has learned that healthy food can also taste good.

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