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Always Shuck Your Tamales

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I was heartily amused by this NYT article about what presidential wannabes are eating during their swing-state stops. Tagline: “Like everything else on the campaign trail, even the eating is political.” Thus, the Gray Lady sees fit to document not only what the prezzies do, say, and wear, but also what they eat: corndogs, ice cream, and steamed veggies (for recovering food addict Mike Huckabee). This can make or break a campaign. Can you really trust a candidate who promises he’s trying to lose weight as he stuffs a sloppy joe into his mouth? The Times remembers that on the stump in ’76, Gerald Ford bit into the corn husk of a tamale, not knowing that those things need to be unwrapped. Hello, President Carter.

All of which got me thinking, what possible food faux pas could await an ’08 hopeful trying to blend with Austin’s locals? The Bush’s favorite restaurant here in Austin is rumored to be Jeffrey’s, while Laura likes Cipollina for lunch: pretty safe choices. Then there’s the monstrously large combo platter named for President Clinton, who “ate all of his,” at the edgier Guero’s on South Congress. I can imagine a New Englander politely sawing away at ribs at the Salt Lick with a knife and fork—it’s just not done. And anyone not in-the-know might order a breakfast taco with chorizo, only to unwittingly drip that bright orange oil onto a fresh-pressed shirt.

The presidential campaigns probably already have aides solving these issues for the big kahunas. If not, folks, just remember the most important thing: you are what you eat.

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