You are what you eat

As Matt notes, Maureen Dowd may have penned her stupidest column yet, on Barack Obama's eating habits. Apparently, he doesn't shovel it in well enough to be a real person.

He is frantic to get away from her because he can’t keep carbo-loading to relate to the common people.

In the final days in Pennsylvania, he dutifully logged time at diners and force-fed himself waffles, pancakes, sausage and a Philly cheese steak. He split the pancakes with Michelle, left some of the waffle and sausage behind, and gave away the French fries that came with the cheese steak.

But this is clearly a man who can’t wait to get back to his organic scrambled egg whites. That was made plain with his cri de coeur at the Glider Diner in Scranton when a reporter asked him about Jimmy Carter and Hamas.

This is stupid in many ways. Candidates spend most of their time sitting still, usually en route to somewhere else where they will sit still. They also get fed roughly 90 times a day. Usually by people who are trying to lavish the candidate with their tastiest--which is to say, heaviest--local delicacy. To finish it all, they'd need a gavage tube.

But also, this is one of those depictions of small town America that always reminds me of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica entries on colonial subject peoples--I mean, clearly the person who wrote the entry had caught a glimpse or two of a Zulu, but just as clearly, they'd never actually talked to one. Maureen Dowd's idea of western Pennsylvania sounds suspiciously like it came from a straw poll of Colonial Club cocktail hour.

I mean, I've spent a fair amount of time in the territory just north of western Pennsylvania. And yes, their diners do offer some large servings. In this, they are exactly like the diners in Manhattan, except that the eggs have some flavor, and they usually have extremely good raisin toast.

To be sure, my relatives don't really grok vegetarianism--when I became one in college, my grandmother memorably asked me "Can you have steak?"

But shockingly, fifteen years later, I still haven't been ejected from the family. In fact, other than needling me about missing a great pot roast, no one has ever said anything about it to me at all. Making deep human judgments about people based on what they do, or do not, put into their mouths seems to be pretty much limited to the cities.