Thu 22 Jan 2009
So the inaugural lunch looked pretty tasty. Seafood stew en croute followed by a “brace of American birds” — duck and pheasant on a bed of Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots and spinach, with wild cherry chutney — and for dessert, apple cinnamon sponge cake and sweet cream glace. Looks like an appropriately festive meal and not too bad health-wise. Game birds are low in cholesterol, and serving winter vegetables without a sauce makes good sense.
Look at the children’s menu though: Hot dogs, cheeseburgers, macaroni and cheese, French fries, grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese pizza, chocolate chip cookies with apple and orange juices. Wow, did there have to be four items with cheese? And aren’t cheeseburgers and fries exactly the foods people rail about as contributing to the expanding obesity of Americans, especially the poor, who tend to eat a great deal of fast-food? I’m surprised that the Obamas, who seem to be thoughtful parents, would approve this menu for the kids at the inauguration lunch. I’m also surprised at the assumption that such calorie-laden items are what have to be given to children because that’s all they’ll eat. Learning about healthy, nutritious food begins early, and it begins at home. Why not let the kids have a scallop and a little duck?
The wine choices for the inaugural lunch were good: Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc 2007, Napa Valley; Goldeneye Pinot Noir 2005, Anderson Valley, Mendocino; Korbel Natural California Champagne, or “champagne.” (Korbel was one of the producers of sparkling wine allowed to continue using the term “champagne” on its labels despite the U.S. and E.U. trade agreement on wine terms.) Nothing wrong there, really, except that Goldeneye is owned by Duckhorn, so one producer provided two-thirds of the inaugural luncheon wine, and Korbel has provided sparkling wine for the past seven inaugurations. I think it’s time to break up that little monopoly.
And how about being geographically diverse, especially for an inauguration that celebrates this country’s great thriving diversity? Why not a pinot noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley? Why not a sparkling wine from New Mexico? Or let’s include the East Coast with a wine from New York or Virginia. I think, in other words, that the wines choices for Tuesday’s lunch were too easy and didn’t reflect the thought and preparation that they could have.
Wine is made in every one of the contiguous 48 states; yes, some of the wine is much better than others, but, still, let’s have a White House that explores that rich heritage of grape-growing and wine-making in America.
Is it too obvious that I’m bucking for the job of White House wine steward? If nominated, I will run; if asked, I will serve. My nation needs me.
Hot dog image from blogs.trb.com.