This article was published Thursday, January 31, 2008 in the Orlando Sentinel on the Op Ed page as a stand alone column. The editor was so impressed with this piece, believe it or not, that I was given 1/3 of the page, sandwiched between two syndicated columnists. It can also be viewed at their website here. The website editor also called and wanted me to shoot a video for the site, one that would explain how I came about writing it and also to make waffles from a recipe which is provided in the body copy of this post. Too bad I can't eat waffles. Please read on...
Political waffling: A profile of culinary courage?
We are certainly living in different times. When John F. Kennedy was president, no one could have fathomed that, in 2008, two of the leading candidates running for the highest office in the land would be an African-American man and -- good heavens -- a woman. My, how times have changed. Back then, Jim Crow laws mandated "separate but equal" status for black Americans, meaning segregation, and the societal norm dictated that a woman's place was in the kitchen.
How interesting, then, that in 1961, Gertrude S. Booth of Gainesville compiled a book of recipes titled Kings In The Kitchen: Favorite Recipes of Famous Men, published by A. S. Barnes and Co. Inc. of New York. I recently purchased an autographed copy from the Seminole County Library bookstore. Dear Gertrude begins her book with a short foreword that states, "We contend that men are better cooks than women, and it is with a great deal of pride that we give you these recipes from men of all parts of the country."
She continues, "Cooking, with a man, is an urge from the heart -- he has a great natural talent and he has been at it longer than woman. When the cave man hunted and made his kill, he cooked it over an open fire and brought it home to his woman."
I wonder what she would think today about world leadership. Men have certainly been at it longer than women, but just take a look at the world. Would a male cook a better presidential recipe than a woman? I think she'd agree that Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and John McCain could outcook Hillary Clinton in the kitchen any day of the week. No bias intended.
Clinton just happens to be the only female candidate, and she once said she was not a woman to stay home and bake cookies. Nowadays, she's too busy voting for the war she is so much against to even think about how a stove works. To be fair, John McCain did vote against lowering taxes he is now for; Mitt Romney has flip-flopped on many issues; and I don't think I'd want to try Obama's cookies, either.
But cooking qualifications do not make a president.
Now that the Florida primary is behind us and the recipe of presidential hopefuls is about to get spicier with fewer ingredients, it is with great honor, and in the tradition of political waffling, that I bring you a personal recipe for waffles from that book contributed by then President John F. Kennedy:
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon sugar
2 egg yolks
7/8 cup milk (or 1 cup buttermilk)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sifted cake flour
1 pinch of salt
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
4 teaspoons baking powder
Cream sugar and butter, add egg yolks and beat. Add flour and milk alternately. When ready to bake, fold in the egg whites and add baking powder. Mixture should be thick and fluffy.
Serve with hot maple syrup and melted butter.
If I need to present a Republican rebuttal, I have a chili con carne recipe from Richard M. Nixon. If you remember Watergate, he certainly wanted to be more than just king in the kitchen.