Thursday, July 17, 2008
Erika on Obama and Food
Two of the three blogs I have linked to on my blog have most recent posts about Obama. Clearly, there's something about this guy. America likes him and they'll decide in November if they really love him. For now, we're just dating, and sometimes when you're dating someone you take the most minute things into consideration. This is especially true if you've just be spurned out of a bad relationship and you're jilted, skeptical and exceedingly discerning about your choice of a new mate. This is our plight, dear friends, as Americans. We're coming off of an eight year Ike and Tina situation, which left us rollin' on the river, and now we're reeling. We're looking for a little revival and we're reeling.
Again, it seems only fair that we approach any new relationship with the most meticulous curiosity, down to what someone we are seeing eats. This I completely understand. Reporters and voters alike have been highly scrutinizing about what Mr. Obama puts in his mouth and what it says about his character. Are we what we eat? Perhaps more relevantly, is our future president what he or she (okay, I could've just said he at this point, yeah) eats? What does this say about their character?
As seen in my previous post below, Dowd and Williams both see Obama's food choices as examples of, at the very least, his secure place in the middle class if not his elitism. We all know that he made a substantial amount of money off of his book as well as being a 'successful' senator married to an attorney. They have money. I know they grossed like over a couple million last year, according to some New Yorker article I read about Michelle, but they also tow the line between wanting to not seem un-relateable in regards to money. Times is tough, yo. They recognize that.
So, why is Obama name-dropping Whole Foods and spouting off about arugula? Why is he eating arugula? Because he's an elitist foodie? Arugula's appearance in the American diet can almost be absolutely pin-pointed to Alice Waters and the beginning of her restaurant, Chez Panisse. Arugula is, yes, most often seen on nicer menus in higher-end restaurants. It may be considered an acquired taste, but guess what else: It's fucking good for you.
The opinionists and reporters have missed the mark. If Dowd wants to tease Obama about something, it shouldn't be about his nutrition-oriented conscious decisions on what to put in his (incredibly fit--dare I say a little sexy?) physique. How can you mock someone for caring about their health for Christ's sake? Thank god we finally maybe have someone in political power that is interested in staying on top of his game physically as well as potentially influencing the [overweight, unhealthy, American] populous in this regard.
And aesthetics? Being conscious of aesthetic is hardly classist--the amount of effort put into the clothing worn by people in my, socio-economically less wealthy and lower class, community is incredible. Why when it relates to food does it become an 'other'?
Obama is in danger of seeming "too prissy about food," says Dowd?! Nutrition is prissy? Nutritious and health-conscious are prissy??? This is exactly my point that people in this country do not understand that the rules of nutrition are simple, affordable and even delicious. Arugula is not expensive! Doritos are expensive! Arugula is cheaper than Doritos.
More to the point, Obama reflects the changing tastes of Americans. It is absolutely my firm belief that as a nation we are becoming fascinated with nutrition, organics, going green, being more conscious in general of our relationship with the earth and what we put into our bodies from it. It's all on the upswing and I say "fuck yeah" if Obama wants to lead the charge. So what if he doesn't want to bow down and accept every piece of cherry pie or ice cream cone or hamburger in every small town across this land? I think it's great. I wouldn't want someone I was dating to meld all of their tastes to mine, especially if it were unhealthy for them, just as I don't want my president pandering to any class/race/type of people through eating junk food. There's nothing about eating junk food that is necessarily lower class or blue collar, might I add.
Vegetables are not elitist or expensive. Neither are fruits and many things that are good for you. I'll budge a little on organics, but scroll down a couple entries to see my article on eating organically, even on a budget. It's effort and time and interest that are the biggest price to pay. I would be intensely happy to have a president that doesn't condone McDonald's and eats bitter greens, just like I'd rather date someone that eats bitter greens rather than McDonald's. But not someone who's just bitter.