Politics

Is Banning Fried Foods Any Way To Woo Southern Delegates?

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Howard "Extreme" Mortman points to culinary dictates of the ruling junta at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. From a Rocky Mountain News report on the mandatory inclusion of blue/purple foods, among other things:

The Democratic National Convention host committee guidelines for caterers suggest serving mostly organic fare or Colorado products, and avoiding fried foods. The guidelines even suggest color schemes on plates.

"This is the food police," groused Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown on Monday. "These people stood in line too long at the Aspen Food and Wine Festival." …

DNC host committee meal guidelines

* Half a meal made up of fruits and/or veggies

* At least three of the following five colors on a plate—red, green, yellow, blue/purple and white (garnishes don't count)

* No fried foods

* At least 70 percent of ingredients (based on precooked weight) certified organic and/or grown or raised in Colorado

* Use of reusable serviceware

* No bottled water, use pitchers instead

* Encourage staff to use alternative modes of transportation

More here.

Recently dead comic George Carlin asks "Where's the blue food?" below:

Update: reason's Katherine Mangu-Ward blogged the DNC's quest for healthy food back on June 25, noting that there was also a problem with getting organic fanny packs for attendees. And she commented on the manifold challenges facing the official "director of greening," Andrea Robinson:

I'm sure Ms. Robinson will be able to handle these challenges. After all, what better preparation could there be for running the Verdant Directorate than a degree in environmental studies from UC Santa Barbara, a guest role as "Barbara" on West Wing season 3, episode 4 ("Ways and Means"), and an appearance as Party Guest/Bridesmaid in Nutty Professor II: The Klumps?

More here.

NEXT: The Button-Down Mind of Adolph Hitler

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  1. Wow. Simply wow. It’s like becoming a life-sized caricature of yourself.

    “Meanwhile, at the RNC, we’ll have some Mexican paintball; shoot the ones that look like factory workers, but let the maids and grape-pickers through. Two points for a headshot. Remember to practice firearm safety at all times!”

  2. Blue food is showing up a bunch lately.

    I was watching an old Dick Cavet interview of Alfred Hitchcock, where Mr. Hitchcock spoke of a dinner party he had where all of the food was blue. Steak, bread, everything.

    Noticed you got the Carlin blue food thing in there too 🙂 I seem to remember blue food mentioned toward the end of the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey too.

    Oh, with the no fried foods deal are they trying to show their tough on biofuels stance, or is this some other nonsense?

  3. Out of touch elitists…

  4. Isn’t this a repeat, except last time there was the WSJ dot-matrix of the hot girl in charge of “greening” for the convention?

  5. And the Democrats deny that they want to control what people eat.

    I did remember one blue food that could be used to make a lot of stuff: blue corn.

  6. Epi,

    And the Democrats deny that they want to control what people eat.

    You mean when they say they are not trying to control what people eat, they only want to make sure the available food is good for you?

    The same way they deny trying to control what people drive, or what sort of transportation they use?

  7. I have to say I do like blue corn chips, but honestly I like the yellow ones better; they make better cheese nachos. Guess I won’t be dining at the DNC.

  8. Will there be foi gras made from native Colorado geese?

  9. It has never been more true: You are what you eat.

  10. faux gras made from free range tofurkeys

  11. As silly as I find it, I can at least understand the DNC trying to practice what they preach, if for no other reason than to stave off the cries of “hypocrite”.

    But what’s with the whole color thing? Does eating a chromatically balanced diet have benefits that us rabble just don’t know about?

  12. Obama will deliver the coup de gras to Hillary at the convention.

  13. I’m all for eating healthy, but isn’t a convention a special occasion where it’s OK to pig out?

  14. This is the kind of paternal bullshitism that makes independent thinkers shy away from the democrat party. As the hypocritical party bigwigs arrive at the convention in chauffeured limos proclaiming how fucking green they are …

  15. gras ou grace? Ce n’est pas de meme chose…

  16. I know the difference, LMNOP. That’s the joke. Get it?

  17. shy away from the democrat party

    Uh oh, you just said a bad word.

  18. Democrats! They’re like beets, only political!

    I think that would look good on a billboard.

  19. So what? If all they want to eat is organic rainbow chard, let this little club do whatever they want. And if the republicans want trays full of fried baby kitten hearts at their convention, then go right on ahead.

    And the councilman’s line about the Apsen W&F Festival is a non-sequitur. Who are “these people”? Real foodies wouldn’t be supporting the Dems and their asinine ag policies.

  20. Yes, Epi, I know. I got the joke. My joke was about French people not having a sense of humor, which apparently flew over *your* head.

    Ah, c’est dommage.

  21. French people not having a sense of humor is not a joke, it’s a truism.

  22. Epi,

    Point taken.

  23. Here in Atlanta someone on a talk radio I had the bad luck to tune into (I was traveling, and out of NPR range) actually suggested that the ban on fried food was aimed against the Southerners, and that it was a good enough reason to vote Republican.

  24. This is the kind of paternal bullshitism that makes independent thinkers shy away from the democrat party.

    Well, maybe the real ones, but the vast majority of “independant thinkers” I have met identify with the Democrat Party and they all have the same ‘ideas’.

  25. Go ahead, laugh it up. But they’re not kidding. The food nannies have been pushing this for years. And make no mistake, the goal is to mandate it by law.

  26. Warren,

    Are they going to require the union kitchen staff to eat the same crap they make, or do they have some sort of benefit that allows them to get fed real food?

  27. “This is the kind of paternal bullshitism that makes independent thinkers shy away from the democrat party.”

    I have to agree. This is one of the stakes that drives a wedge between the folks who just want to see more economic protections for the “common man” and those who make a federal issue (literally) out of issues like bio-engineered food, organic, co-op produced etc., food.

    For those who feel strongly in a particular way on any of these issues, I can dig it, but set up a booth at the convention urging or informing your fellow delegates rather than forcing the catering into the confines of what you think appropriate.

  28. But what’s with the whole color thing? Does eating a chromatically balanced diet have benefits that us rabble just don’t know about?

    Actually, yes, it probably does. Lots of micronutrients (carotenes, anthocyanins, flavinoids) tend to be associated with various (natural) colors in fruits and vegetables. A colorful plate is probably a relatively healthy one.

    None of which makes the DNC food policy less silly or paternalistic…

  29. You know, I’m sure there are a fair number of conservatives who think drinking alcohol is bad thing (look at Southern Baptists for example) and would like to not only not imbibe themselves but would love to see others not drink. But I have not heard anything about such folks trying to ban any alcohol at the GOP convention.

  30. Carlin’s voice in that clip sounds eerily like that of Robin Williams

  31. Oh heavens to betsy. The DNC is telling the caterers what to serve.

    Never in the HISTORY OF MANKIND has an organization throwing a giant, catered party, dictated to the caterers what to serve.

    Seriously. WTF is the problem here? Of course they’re telling the caterers what to do. That’s what they HIRED THEM FOR. “We want this food. We don’t want this food. PREPARE IT AND SERVE IT, BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT WE’RE PAYING YOU FOR”.

    And goodness, some attendee will be upset because they didn’t like the choices. THAT’s never happened at a catered event either.

    I really fail to see the problem. Or why it’s even interesting.

  32. To be fair, getting through this year’s Republican convention sober would be excruciating.

  33. So, the veal has to be organic AND baked?

  34. Morat20 —

    Because it plays into the negative stereotypical image of snooty Democrats better than any Republican propagandist could ever hope for.

    It’s like a Republican convention posting a sign that says “No Gun — No Entry” or “Leave your servants in the lot.”

    Sure, it’s their business to run their party however they like, but since they are bidding to run a significant portion of our lives, it would be nice to know they don’t indulge their baser control-freaky instincts all the fucking time.

  35. Morat20,

    I was going to make a comment in my “hysterical Leftie shrill voice”, but you beat me to it.

    You forgot to knock all of the coffee and bagels off the table in the Student Union with your Chinese made book bag with Free Tibet pins attached to be seen from any direction.

  36. Side note re: food nannies.

    At my school, over 80% of the kids are on the free-or-reduced-price-lunch program, so by default we have a limited number of gov’t approved contractors to provide lunch service for the students. The meals must contain a food from each food group in certain ratios, with the aim of providing a “healthy and balanced” meal to what are assumed to be otherwise poorly nourished children.

    Now, this is nothing new, I remember the same rules applying when I was in high school. However, I fail to see how white bread w/ zero fiber on the verge of going stale, mystery meat with a high fat content, fried potato bites, sugary-syrup soaked fruit cups and chocolate milk make for a healthy meal. Food nannies indeed. I think the kids would be better off at the McDonald’s around the corner, where at least the option of a salad or sandwich with vegetables on it is presented to them.

    Food nanny-ism frightens me. I eat a colorful diet because I am aware of the health benefits of it, and eat free-range venison (meaning I shoot & butcher it myself) and wild caught fish (ditto except for the shooting part) for the majority of my meals. But hell and damnation to anyone who tries to outlaw my occasional foray into the realm of deep-fried chicken parts and gooey mashed potatoes with 1/2 stick of butter served up with a side of sweet corn also drowned in butter. Yummy.

  37. Oh heavens to betsy. The DNC is telling the caterers what to serve.

    yeah, basically.

    but let that not get in the way; this menu speaks, after all, to the true soul of the blah blah blah blah blah

    TEAM RED TEAM BLUE GO TEAM GO

  38. MadBiker,

    and wild caught fish (ditto except for the shooting part)

    Do you have a favorite explosive for this or do you just use whatever is laying around the house?

  39. LMNOP: it wrankles me a bit because the Dems (and Reps for that matter) have the financial means to make such choices available to them. Hooray for them and anyone else who can afford blueberries, fresh chard, organic tomatoes (which last I saw in NJ were upwards of $4 a lb) and free range veal (that exists? I thought veal by its nature was not supposed to “range”).

    Perhaps they hope to set an example or a trend by making their food choices a declaration of commitment to setting healthier habits in place for all Americans as a matter of policy, but not all Americans, especially the poorer Americans that Dems proclaim to serve, can reasonably afford the fresh veggies or meats that make up a healthy diet. Eating this way can be done economically, but it takes practice, a shrewd eye for bargains, willingness to go to markets versus grocery stores, and frugality in the use of food products. If this type of eating (which I advocate personally but not as a matter of policy) is to become policy, then what other legislative actions will be taken to enact price controls on food stuffs, and what slippery slope do we slide down if we fail to feed our kids the “proper diet?”

  40. Guy Montag – I usually let my husband take care of that, since sea-sickness takes hold of me the moment I feel waves underfoot.

    No dynamite involved, just stinky bunker and sharp hooks 😉

  41. Slightly OT:

    Anyone looking for a good read on the subject should check out The Gospel of Food by USC professor Barry Glassner. He’s basically a lefty (teaches sociology after all) but is pretty fair-minded about looking at facts rather than ideology/hysteria. It’s interesting if for no other reason than to read a lefty force himself to acknowledge the benefits of “Big Food” and even (gasp) choice!

  42. As silly as I find it, I can at least understand the DNC trying to practice what they preach,

    I find the enthusiastic use of top-down control to be one of the few areas where all of Our Masters practice what they preach.

  43. R C Dean —

    For once we are in complete agreement.

    madbiker —

    Yeah. I know first-hand how hard it is to eat well on a tight budget, and I pray they are not actually so stupid as to attempt to force people to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, re: veal, free range is a new one on me too. It seems like it sort of defeats the purpose.

  44. “WTF is the problem here? Of course they’re telling the caterers what to do. That’s what they HIRED THEM FOR.”

    I find the whole “top down” argument bunk. Corporations regularly set policies and rules that are top down, yet conservatives don’t complain. What this is about is the Democratic Party making a political statement that paints them as out of touch. Or rather, the GOP would like us to see it that way. God forbid people eat healthy food.

  45. Guys in my high school used to eat colorful food all the time. It was no big deal.

  46. God forbid people eat healthy food.

    Except of course that this has a little do do with healthy food and a lot more to do with ideology. Hence the inclusion of “locally grown/organic” foods. There’s some evidence to suggest that eating organic food is at best no more healthy than “regular” food, pesticides and all. It’s possible that organic food is even less healthy because many organic producers eschew perfectly harmless safety measures such as pasteurization. Ditto for the “locally grown” stuff. Small, independent farmers often don’t have the time or resources to take the food safety measures that larger “factory farms” do.

  47. “Except of course that this has a little do do with healthy food and a lot more to do with ideology.”

    Because you said, “except,” I have to assume you didn’t read the part of my post where I said, “What this is about is the Democratic Party making a political statement that paints them as out of touch. Or rather, the GOP would like us to see it that way.”

  48. Lamar,

    I read that part, and I agree, more or less. It does make the Democrats look out of touch – especially with the “working class” they try so hard to link themselves with. And the Republicans would be stupid not to capitalize on it.

    Most people, especially poor and lower middle class people, are more interested in not going to bed hungry than making a political statement at the dinner table.

  49. lmao! what a bunch of nerds the DNC has become

  50. Ladies, Gentlemen, and Guy Montag-

    I have consulted my book of libertarian theology on the proper response to this menu. At first, I thought that it spoke to the true soul of blah blah blah. But after more careful consultation I realized that this is really just a challenging order for private catering companies. It is written in the Libertarian Psalms that “Behold! There is no task beyond the reach of a private firm! Even unto the greatest trial, every detail shall be done for the customer!”

    This is indeed a challenging menu, but I have confidence that private sector catering firms will find a way to deliver it to their customer. I also have perfect faith that if they fail to deliver this menu it will be because of a local government regulation that interfered.

    DEMAND KURVE!

    Amen.

  51. I also have perfect faith that if they fail to deliver this menu it will be because of a local government regulation that interfered.

    Regulations helpfully suggested by other businesses using the government to shield them from competition and/or innovation.

  52. Now, now, P Brooks, let’s not go around blaming private businesses here. This is a libertarian Kulturkampf.

  53. Interesting. But for the stupid occupation and the stupider Bush administration, the Democratic party would’ve been replaced in 2006 by the Bull Moose Party. The GOP really screwed up, unless they’re secretly behind all of this propping up of the We’re Getting Weirder Every Day Party.

  54. “Encourage staff to use alternate transportation”

    Hahahhahahahaahah, how can they say this with a straight face? They all fly in on private jets, get limo’d to the party, eat and drink for free, suck up to each other and then get back on the limo’s, back to the express “big shot only” check in at the airport, and then off on the private jet again. What a bunch of turkeys.

  55. So you all are reading instructions to a caterer and trying to extrapolate federal dietary policy and attribute that form of totalitarianism to the Democratic party?

    Back here in reality, where things really happen, almost ANY caterer who bids for such a large contract can and does expect specifications just like these. Whether kosher, ethnic, or *gasp* good healthy food, caterers and their customers expect to hammer out the details of the menu right down to the raw ingredients.

    Nonetheless, you see in this picky customer the latest sign that your nightmare is coming to life: a left-wing police state ruled by a harch PC nanny who tells you what to eat.

    This reminds me of the story on FOX news lately about a Guantanamo military officer who claims the real problem in that prison is left-wing PC politics which, according to her, gets in the way of effective security and ruins the operational routine. In the next breath, the officer emphasized the extreme sensitivity with which the corps at Guantanamo treated the inmates, so as not to offend their religious sensibilities, nor those of the prickly PC left wing. One example she gave was the decision not to allow the prisoners to sacrafice a goat for Ramadan (or some other insane holy day) for fear of offending PETA. Suddenly, seven years after these people were detained without charges, redress, or defense, and tortured, the moral authority commanding the deference of the military in that hxll hole is PETA. LOL! Only on FOX News.

    So it’s with some surprise that on this site, called Reason, I find commentary from the same level of hxll. Is it actually the case that after seven years of this fiscal and societal nightmare, the problems gripping your mind are coded and encrypted in comments to the caterer? God save us all.

    PS >>> Having said all of that, the transportation comment really does pxss me off. So I guess the wait staff has to walk to work work or rent a rickshaw? F-YOU DNC!

  56. So it’s with some surprise that on this site, called Reason, I find commentary from the same level of hxll.

    DRINK!

    (Organic drinks only, of course.)

  57. (Organic drinks only, of course.)

    I’m sure tap water would be preferred. Bottled water is destroying the Earth, remember.

    I don’t know how we’d ever survive without people dropping in to lecture us.

  58. Yes, because a private entity dictating the guidelines of the food it will be serving at a private event is equivalent to a legal ban on the other food. Why, just last week I went to a breakfast where bacon was served and I stood on a table and screamed ‘HOW DARE YOU BAN SAUSAGE, YOU HIPPY FASCISTS!’. But everyone said I was just an idiot. I’m not sure why. . .

  59. I won’t be impressed until the DNC orders tie-dyed food right after you leave your keys in a massive bowl so that everyone can couple swap afterward just for the sake of liberalism. Hell, I might show up for that.

  60. Geez, does someone have to say it again?

    Of course the DNC has every right to dictate the menu at their convention.

    But we also have the equal right to heep scorn and derision on them for being such a bunch of smarmy self-righteous ninnies.

    What do you bet there’ll be a lot of dining offsite by convention attendees?

  61. * At least three of the following five colors on a plate – red, green, yellow, blue/purple and white (garnishes don’t count)

    Sounds like Republicans could live with this rule: red steak, white baked potato with green onion garnish on the side.

    The rest of the guidelines? Not so much so.

  62. But we also have the equal right to heep scorn and derision on them for being such a bunch of smarmy self-righteous ninnies.

    You (plural) sure do get in a high dudgeon about menus. Last I checked, when someone is providing food on their dime, it isn’t cricket to bitch about the menu. That’s called being a bad guest. And bitching about the menu if you aren’t even going. . I’m not even sure what that’s called, but it probably isn’t something you’ll be proud of.

    Sorry to interrupt the 5 minutes hate, though!

  63. I wonder if the Republicans ever serve champagne?

  64. My grandfather was involved in Democratic politics in the 40s.

    They used to have turkey shoots at their county meetings.

    They’ve sure changed things!

  65. I would think most of the permanant staff of a convention center / stadium would be the kind of working class folks that would tend to take the bus to work.

    So alternative transnportation would actually be to drive a car.

  66. Reason #453 why I’m no longer a Democrat.

  67. They used to have turkey shoots at their county meetings.

    In some parts of the country they had cross-burnings.

    You sum it up in your last sentence. This is not the same party it was in the 40s.

    Hell, it’s not the same party it was in the sixties.

    sidereal | July 8, 2008, 4:25pm | #

    Of course they have a right to pick a menu.

    It’s just that when you’re planning an event for a huge diverse crowd it kind of makes sense to try to appeal to the large mass of the group rather rather than the handful who travelled there from San Francisco or Cambridge, Mass.

    Like I say, there will be a lot of dining offsite at this convention.

    It’s like the organizers of this thing were deliberately acting out a parody of the party as a bunch of out of touch elitists.

    Whoa, maybe they’re Republican plants. So that’s what Karl Rove’s been assigned to do. And you all believed that stuff about resigning to spend more time with his family.

  68. Oh, and its’ more of a “5 minutes fun” than a “5 minutes hate”.

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