Could it be that first lady Michelle Obama was a co-conspirator to the great "Iron Chef" vegetable debacle?

Politics Daily reported yesterday that the Food Network's "Iron Chef" episode that boasted of using actual vegetables actually grown in the actual White House kitchen garden were actually purchased elsewhere.

"The produce used on the Food Network's Jan. 3 Iron Chef of America two-hour special White House show was billed as being from the White House garden. But the show did not disclose that "stunt double vegetables" were used and not produce from the First Family's garden," the article reported.

So the Emeril Lagasse-Mario Batali vs. Bobby Flay-Cristeta Comerford competition pulled the ol' bait and switch on us. Not surprising, when you think about it: If they had used the vegetables they were shown picking at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., the chefs would have had to transport them to the studio and wait for taping day, which likely wasn't immediately after their visit with Obama. Logistically, it doesn't really add up. 

But the ruse does bring to mind another fishy White House garden stunt. On planting day, the first lady was photographed "breaking ground" wearing neat-but-casual attire and what appeared to be dress boots. Plus the tool she was holding wasn't what is ordinarily used to break ground.

But I will cut her some slack -- again -- because she is, after all, the first lady, and she did inspire probably thousands of people to plant vegetables last year, and her intentions are honorable. "Iron Chef," however, should have disclosed that the ingredients used in the challenge were inspired by those grown at the White House.

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According to the Food Network,  "production delays" were to blame, and the "replacement vegetables" were the "same types of fruits and vegetables picked from the White House garden."  Why didn't they just say so?