The mid-term elections are fast approaching. I’ve been wondering why candidates running for high political office seem to feel it is necessary to eat what the locals eat. I suppose it’s a way of establishing solidarity with the voters.
When politicians fly to Buffalo they make a big deal about eating a wing. They become “ein Buffalo-er,” which is the next best thing to being ein Berliner or a Philadelphian — when they gather together together to scarf down a cheesesteak.
It’s the same deal when we declare our brotherhood by eating a hot pastrami sandwich.
Toss down a couple of belts of hard liquor and the world applauds. There’s nothing like beer to solidify a candidate’s credentials. Wine is another thing altogether.
JFK and Jackie O. received high marks for their elegant state dinners. That was then, though.
Eat French food today and the other side will make a mockery of you. Admitting to enjoying chardonnay and arugula has become shorthand for a lack of patriotism.
French food is only O.K. only when it comes to fries. Fried is probably the best bet for almost everything, especially chicken. KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) is wildly popular throughout the world, or many parts of the world. Forget about quiche.
Throw a barbecue on your million acre ranch and what are you? Why, you are a man: A REAL MAN! A red-bloodied American man.
Declare your favorite food to be caribou stew or moose burger and you pass muster in certain necks of certain woods. Right on!
You are pretty safe if you can eat whatever is offered to eat with your hands, or if worst comes to worst, a plastic fork is sometimes allowed (or forgiven).
Mention you are a vegetarian and you’ll be confessing to ‘wimpitude’. (Hitler was a vegetarian.)
Pastor Rick Warren recently pondered whether an atheist, even a non-practicing atheist, could become the Commander in Chief. He didn’t reflect about whether a vegetarian had a prayer.
If I was a campaign adviser I’d suggest that my client stay clear of all cheese except Velveeta or when campaigning in Wisconsin.
It’s odd that desserts don’t carry any weight in this public display of togetherness chomping.
While some foods are considered cool, others pose a problem. For instance, sushi would have been taboo in years past. Now sushi is sold at Wal-Mart, in supermarkets and food courts everywhere.
Sushi is the new pizza. It’s become a kind of upscale fish finger.
The galloping popularity of sushi opens up splendid new career opportunities for chefs. Sushi culinary schools have opened in California, and we can confidently expect to see more MASA restaurant derivatives. MASA in New York occupies a place in the restaurant stratosphere where dinner for two can cost as much as $1,000 before tax and gratuities.
Fish is gold.
Fish ‘n rice clearly occupy a far more exalted status than fish ‘n chips, so this seems like a fine time to sashay into sushi and sashimi.