Monday, January 19, 2009

Death to foodie

You've got to hand it to Barack Obama.

He is consistently the smartest guy in the room.

According to Holly Bailey in this issue of Newsweek, several prominent foodies including Ruth Reichl (pictured), Danny Meyer and Alice Waters wrote a letter to Obama back in November, telling him to replace the current White House chef with someone a little more organic-friendly. (And numerous star-struck chefs apparently wanted the job.)

To his credit, Obama didn't listen and decided to keep current White House chef Cristeta Comerford.

First off, can you imagine the hay Republicans would have made if he had fired her? "He's listening to those arugula-eating-Volvo-driving-left-coast elites!" they would have said.

"Who cares?" you respond.

Fair enough... but remember how badly damaged the Clintons were when they fired the White House travel office and replaced them with their own loyalists? It was a PR nightmare. And it contributed to the Clintons' extremely shaky first year. Who needs the tsuris?

Second off, the Republicans would have had a point.

If the Obamas went to the chef and explicitly asked for organic, healthy meals and she refused that would be one thing. (As I recall, Clinton fired the White House chef when he refused to cook without butter.) But this chef has been in her job for four years now. It's her livelihood. Why should a bunch of snobs -- who, I'm willing to wager, never tasted her food -- say that she's not good enough?

And, finally, she was cooking healthy already!

Even though Bush might have a penchant for Texas grub, it is apparently organic grub. (Which is slightly hilarious. I always suspected that Bush secretly ate healthy -- because he's something of a health nut -- but I always assumed processed, industrialized, manufactured healthy.)

Thank god Obama thinks for himself.