Unlike her husband, Michelle Obama doesn't do extended press conferences. But during a visit Wednesday to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, the first lady took any and all questions from the kids she met there, dishing on everything from her daughters' prank skills to the president's cooking. Here's a top five list of what she revealed about life inside the White House.
1. The president is the target for most of the family's pranks, though Sasha and Malia need to work on the element of surprise. Asked whom she likes to prank the most, Obama replied, "Oh, the president," prompting laughter. "We love to scare each other. Malia and Sasha, they always try to scare us. They’re real bad at it, too, because they’re loud. You can give them tips? There’s a lot of scaring going on."
While Obama said she would take the kids' suggestion to dump a bucket of water on the president's head ("mark that down," she told an aide), she drew the line at sand at scaring young trick-or-treaters who come to the White House at Halloween.
2. The Truman Balcony is her favorite White House spot. Asked what is the best part of living in the White House, the first lady--inexplicably--did not say having a personal chef, though she mentioned it later in the exchange to explain why she no longer cooks. Instead she identified the Truman Balcony, saying "that’s one of my favorite places to be, because we can be outside and you can look over the fountain, and you see the Washington Memorial, and it’s a really pretty view. And it’s peaceful."
3. Attending a Beyoncé concert is roughly on par with dining at Buckingham Palace. Asked what she most liked about being the first lady, Obama replied, "I enjoyed meeting the Pope, visiting the Vatican. It was really cool going to a state dinner at Buckingham Palace with the Queen of England. But she quickly added, "I also got to hang out in the beehive at a Beyoncé concert. Oh, my stars!" (And by the way, we think she said BeyHive, for those in the know, but the transcription office is apparently not familiar with the concept of the swarm of female fans that worship their queen, Beyoncé.)
4. Before entering the White House Michelle Obama did most of the cooking, even when it came to her husband's recipes. Describing herself as "an excellent cook," the first lady said she prepared baked chicken, brown rice, broccoli and shrimp pasta with garlic when the Obamas lived in Chicago. "The president, he can cook too, but he just didn’t cook that much. He has this great chili that he would do, but I wound up making it more than he did," she said, as the kids laughed. "Yeah, you guys know that drill, how that goes."
5. Sunny and Bo hunt for food aboard Air Force One. While she had to break the news to the children that the presidential dogs did not come along with her to Memphis, Obama explained that they ride on Air Force One when they go away as a family. "We take them on vacations with us, and they ride on the planes. And they’re good on the planes, actually. They sit in their little chairs, wait for takeoff, and then they try to get to where the food is," she said. "That’s usually the challenge on the plane -- they’re trying to find the food."