Mr. Obama's Sweet Potato Pie

A D.C. soul food legend takes aim at the new president's sweet tooth.

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Last year on the 2008 campaign trail, them-President-elect Barack Obama proclaimed his culinary love for sweet potato pie. The Root visited Henry's Soul Cafe in Washington, D.C., which claims it has the "Best Pie on the Planet." The original article is reprinted below. Watch the video here.

By his own admission, he is a man obsessed, this president-elect of ours. Women on the campaign trail have offered to cook for him, one of them declaring, "I'll make you pie, baby!" And he has decreed that they must not just make him any pie, but that they must make him … sweet potato pie. In fact, there should be a contest of said spud pies, a contest that he, and only he, will judge. This, with apologies to Sade, is no ordinary culinary love.

If it's sweet potato pie that Barack Obama wants, then it is sweet potato pie that Barack Obama must have.

There are people who know this, and right now, in an obscure storefront in D.C.'s U Street corridor, these people are plotting and planning their own presidential domination. They want to conquer President-elect Obama, one slice at a time.

"My No. 1 job is to [woo] Obama," says Jermaine Smith, president of Henry's Soul Café. "And it's going to be as easy as giving him a slice."

"I don't think it'll take a slice," his sister, Henrietta Smith-Davis, manager of operations, says.

More like a piece of a slice.

"It's almost inevitable," Jermaine adds.

These are people who believe in the power of the pie. A sign in Henry's Soul Café says, "Best Pie on the Planet," a bit of gustatory hubris, perhaps, but who are we to argue? (On the real, though, it's seriously good pie.)

Walk into Henry's Soul Café right now, right before Thanksgiving, and you'll see folks lining up to partake of those legendary pies. Folks who thought ahead and called in their holiday orders and folks who didn't but are hoping that fate will intervene and grant them a pie—or two. (The Smiths sell around 10,000 pies each Thanksgiving, from D.C. to California to China.) But even if they are turned away, there's always the Smiths' "Pie in a Kit," to be obtained for $27 on their Web site.

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