With Trump dipping badly in the US polls, it’s looking increasingly likely that there won’t just be a new president in the White House. There will also be a vacancy for a new chef. One thing is certain: the Trump presidency will not be remembered for its cordon bleu cuisine.
Will Biden – who describes himself as a regular Irish-American working class boy from the suburbs of Scranton, Pennsylvania – be any different ?
The current White House executive chef is a Filipino-American called Cristeta Pasia Comerford. She has ruled the kitchen since 2005. The truth is that Democrat presidents invariably take their food – and wine (Trump is tee-total) – much more seriously than their Republican counterparts.
look at what our politicians stuff down their gullets: it may reveal untold truths about them
Jackie Kennedy loved anything French and sophisticated and first hired René – who had worked at restaurants in Paris and Deauville – for the inauguration lunch in 1961. He had come to New York to work at La Caravelle restaurant at the Carlyle Hotel. It was his classic French cooking – under head chef Roger Fessaguet – that first caught Jackie’s attention. Previous to René, who was put on full time staff and had his own room at the White House, presidential meals had been largely prepared by ‘Navy stewards’ and were famously basic.
Trump’s own diet is a throwback to the pre-Verdon White House era. ‘You are what you eat,’ the old adage insists, and since we live in an age where politics makes almost no sense, perhaps it’s time we took a look at what our politicians stuff down their gullets: it may reveal untold truths about them as well as the chaos they’re presiding over.
So let’s begin by deconstructing the plate of the most powerful man in the Western world. Donald J Trump’s diet is – as People magazine once put it – “populist, cheap and maybe too salty for most people’s taste.” As you might guess from the shape of him, the 45th President of the United States exists on junk food.
There were “four major food groups” served on Trump Force One during the American election campaign, ex-aides David Bossie and Corey Lewandowski note: “McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, pizza and Diet Coke”. Trump’s most regular order was “two Big Macs, twoFilet-O-Fish and achocolatemalted”.The cupboards were stuffed with Vienna Fingers, potato chips, pretzels and Oreos.
There’s nothing more American and more of-the-people than fast food,” Republican strategist Russ Schriefer reckons.
In addition to suggesting that Trump is, by and large, composed of fat and sodium, this diet is also evidence of his rampaging paranoia. Michael Wolff claims his addiction to junk is rooted in his fear of being poisoned. He thought it safe to eat at McDonald’s since “nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely premade”. At nights, he likes to eat cheeseburgers alone in his room while watching three television screens and talking on the phone.
Some argue that all of this connects him with voters. Trump may be excessively rich but he chows down just like a blue-collar voter. “There’s nothing more American and more of-the-people than fast food,” Republican strategist Russ Schriefer reckons.
Did it win him the 2016 election? Certainly, Hillary Clinton saw food as essential to that campaign. She devotes a whole chapter of her book What Happened to what she ate. For breakfast, it was egg whites and vegetables, and she carried hot sauce in her handbag for every other meal.
Like almost everything else about Hillary Clinton, the details somehow seem singularly inauthentic. After all, who eats vegetables for breakfast? Does she really like hot sauce, or was this, as many commentators suggested, an effort to connect with black voters, perhaps in the hope that they would overlook her ‘super-predator’ speeches in the days when Bill bestrode politics?
Ultimately, the more you read about what Trump eats, the more fallible and human he appears.
On Hillary’s plane there weren’t any Oreos, just a nutritionist called Liz who made brownies out of chickpea flour. While everyone’s heard of a Big Mac, Hillary snacked on “Flavor Blasted Goldfish”.’ It’s worth noting that in the days the Clintons ruled the world, her husband’s diet closely resembled Trump’s. Now, like many a Goldman Sachs trophy spouse, he’s vegan.
Ultimately, the more you read about what Trump eats, the more fallible and human he appears. While we fear he’s got his finger on the nuclear button, actually he’s just pressing a small red one in the Oval Office through which he can order a constant supply of Diet Coke.
Thinking about all that fizz and pop inside of him he must – surely? – trump constantly. Does this explain all his hysterical outbursts? No one knows. But it certainly demystifies him – and the state of his politics.