Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Let Them Eat What They Want

In a report about the duties of the White House kitchen staff, the commanding chef dishes information on the favorite foods of the Clintons, Bushes, and Obamas:

“Both first ladies [Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush] enjoyed a range of foods—including red beets and oat meal — while Mr. Clinton and President Bush would have been just as content with a barbeque in the basement,” [chef Walter Scheib] said.

The Bushes often requested “huevos rancheros” with black beans—a classic Mexican breakfast dish—after church on Sundays. And the first lady was keen on having her latte at 8 a.m. each morning and “adamant that everything be organic,” Schieb said.

That hankering for huevos rancheros is clearly just an instance of ethnic pandering. But who knew that Laura Bush was a crunchy con? Unfortunately, the article doesn’t say whether the White House has ever served yellow cake, especially when Italian dignitaries bring it as dessert.

The Bushes, however, are old news. Let’s read the tea leaves in Obama’s culinary taste:

Obama has said in interviews that his favorite food is chili, though Schieb cautioned about disclosing the president’s most beloved dish.

“He’ll be fed it everywhere he goes for the rest of his life,” he quipped.

The president-elect has also been known to favor fish and pistachios—as well as pumpkin pie.

So let’s see . . . chili (one part fire-breathing cowboy, one part NAFTA), fish (brain food, formerly-secret Christian symbol), pumpkin pie (a homegrown alternative to an American cliché), but pistachios? Need I mention which country in the world dominates production of that nefarious nut? Must I track the powdery red trail all the way to its source? Ahmadinejad is paying attention: he surely knows that even the word comes from Persian.