Thursday, July 10, 2008

Food Police

I liked this example of political correctness run amok. For the upcoming Democratic Convention in Denver, "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."

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

As a commenter noted, the staff is encouraged to use alternative modes of transportation, not the attendees. Alternative transport is for the "Little People."

What I wonder is: will you be able to use more than one square of toilet tissue?

I had previously talked a little about this other kind of food hypocrisy in regards to the UN Food Summit. I guess it just keeps popping up. PM Brown of Great Britain is urging his citizenry to reduce food wastage, which is not an unadmirable idea. Apparently, "mountains" of food are wasted each year--up to 40% is lost due to poor processing, transport and storage. Among the solutions: bulk-buying will be discouraged. Excessive packaging will also be forbidden, somehow.

Exactly what these measures will achieve is not clear. Eliminating food waste is a good thing, and eliminate excessive packaging is another, but it is not clear that there is a relationship between the amount of packaging thrown away, and the amount of food thrown away. The relationship between the mountains of food being thrown away and world starvation is also a bit murky to me. Noble efforts to be sure, but to what end?

Of course, this was almost immediately followed by a story about the G8 food fest, I mean, Summit, which Brown is attending in Hokkaido, Japan. Some Summit trivia: the Summit itself cost close to $400 million. Also, the International Media Center cost almost $50 million, and will be dismantled after the Summit is completed (this is somehow consistent with UN and Japanese visions of eco-greenness and enviro-friendlyism).

The menus in full:

Corn-stuffed caviar
Smoked salmon and sea urchin "pain surprise" style
Hot onion tart
Winter lily bulb and summer savoury
Folding fan modelled tray decorated with bamboo grasses
Kelp-flavoured cold Kyoto beef "shabu-shabu", asparagus dressed with sesame cream
Diced fatty flesh of tuna fish, avocado and jellied soy sauce and Japanese herb "shiso"
Boiled clam, tomato, "shiso" in jellied clear soup of clam
Water shield and pickled conger dressed with vinegar soy sauce
Boiled prawn with jellied tosazu vinegar
Grilled eel rolled around burdock strip
Sweet potato
Fried and seasoned Goby with soy sauce and sugar
Hairy Crab "Kegani" bisque soup
Salt-grilled bighand thornyhead with vinegary water pepper sauce
Milk fed "shiranuka" lamb flavoured with aromatic herbs and mustard
Roasted lamb and cepes and black truffle with emulsion sauce of lamb's stock and pine seed oil

All in all, it sounds like a really long episode of "Iron Chef." I would definitely steer clear of the Hairy Crab (sounds like something that should be treated rather than eaten). Also, I suggest you skip anything that includes a "pain surprise."

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