By Amie Parnes - 03/14/12 03:19 PM EDT
If there was a theme at the White House for British Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit on Wednesday, it could be, well, fire.
During the official welcoming ceremony on the South Lawn on Wednesday morning, President Obama quipped that it’s been almost 200 years since the British came to the White House “under somewhat different circumstances.
The quip came one day after White House press secretary Jay Carney joked that the United States had “almost” forgiven the Brits for burning down the White House.
When it was Cameron’s turn to speak, he did a little teasing of his own.
“I’m a little embarrassed to think that 200 years ago my ancestors tried to burn this place down,” the prime minister said. “You’ve got the place a little better defended this time.”
To mark the official visit, Obama, along with first lady Michelle Obama, gave the Camerons a one-of-a-kind Braten 1000 Series grill made by hand by Engelbrecht Grills, according to the White House.
The gift commemorates the Obamas visit to 10 Downing Street last year when they grilled with the Camerons and served food to American and British troops, the White House said.
The wood- and charcoal-burning grill is adorned with American and British friendship flags engraved into the utility shelf and a personalized plaque mounted on the exterior lid, a statement said. The Obamas also included as part of the gift two White House chef jackets with the American and British flags along with the Camerons’ names embroidered on the front of the jackets.
Michelle Obama also gave Samantha Cameron a crystal honey vase with honey from the White House kitchen garden, along with chamomile seeds from the garden and a custom candle.
The Cameron children received bean bag chairs with the presidential seal and their names embroidered to each one.
In return, Cameron gave the president a ping pong table, a reference to the time the two leaders played table tennis across the pond and "got thrashed," as Obama put it on Wednesday.
"Because I know America doesn't like being on the losing side, I'm trying to make up to you with the gift of a table tennis table, which I hope will be there in the White House," Cameron said at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
"We should practice this afternoon," Obama told Cameron.
"I think — well, I certainly need the practice," the prime minister responded. "One of these days I'll get my own back by getting you to a cricket match and explaining the rules to you and some of the terminology that you'll have to try and get straight, as I tried last night."
— This story was updated at 3:40 p.m.