Parsing Strauss-Kahn's New York Diet

His food habits have been a source of fascination for the press, rightly or not

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It's been about 24 hours since Dominique Strauss-Kahn regained his freedom to leave the city and country. He said he "can't wait" to get back to France, but he's got a few things to do here first. One of those things is to get his passport back, which he was supposed to do yesterday but which got delayed because that earthquake closed all the New York City offices down early. Another thing was to go out to dinner with his wife and daughter, a celebratory outing that took the family to the West Village's L'Artusi, where they ate in a private room.

As it has done from the start of this saga, the press pounced on this detail of Strauss-Kahn's personal life. He and his family have been intensely private since they were thrust into the limelight, and so those who cover the story, including us, have obsessed over nearly every little clue as to how he lives. Remember the all-male cleaning staff at his townhouse? How about the furniture delivery? As groundbreaking as some of the news has been in this case, a lot of the reporting has been in the minutiae of how such an important man, who screwed up so colossally, managed his life. (By the way, Wednesday morning was a quiet one at 153 Franklin St., according to the Sunday Times. Some flowers came but "otherwise, there was no movement -- not a twitch of the blinds in the glass doors or eight windows.") One of the best details to seize upon is food, because it is so personal. So as the story winds down, let's review what we know of Strauss-Kahn's diet while an enforced resident of New York City.

  • Arrest calls for eggs: The evening and morning after he was pulled from an Air France flight from New York to Paris, Strauss-Kahn asked for simple food -- first eggs, then a sandwich -- according to a court document detailing some of that process.
  • Jailhouse blues: Inside Rikers Island, where Strauss-Kahn stayed for five days after his arrest, he ate the same food as the rest of the inmates, though by himself. Jailed financial planner Jennifer Wilkov wrote in Marie Claire that "Meals mostly consist of slices of bread and turkey patties or fried chicken quarters, which the prisoners like to refer to as 'seagull meat.' " And on a website dedicated to Rikers Island former inmates referred to bologna, hot dogs, bread baked by the inmates, and chicken and rice. 
  • Picnicking at home: After Strauss-Kahn moved into his TriBeCa townhouse on May 25, he ordered in from nearby Landmarc. The New York Daily News reported, "He and his wife, journalist Anne Sinclair, ordered $242.790 worth of steaks and salad. The bill was put on 26-year-old daughter Camille's credit card, and deliveryman Ramon Leal walked away with a handsome $25 tip."
  • Day-to-day delivery: A few days after he moved in, Strauss-Kahn got a sizeable delivery of groceries and coffee, which the New York Post asserted meant he was on a diet: "He took in a six-bag grocery order that included healthy fare like boneless, skinless chicken breast, Lean Cuisine meals and Crystal Light," the paper reported. He also got nine cases of Poland Spring water and a box from Espresso Coffee. "They never tip," Espresso delivery guy Danny Cotto told the Post.
  • A celebratory dinner: After the cracks in the prosecution's case came out and Strauss-Kahn's house arrest was lifted July 1, he went out on the town for the July 4 holiday weekend, running up a $700 bill at Scalinatella, on the Upper East Side. We cited a report from the Independent, which wrote, "the former International Monetary Fund boss ate pasta with black truffles and washed it down with a $116 Tuscan red. Mr Strauss-Kahn and his wife left the restaurant through the kitchen in a vain attempt to avoid the waiting cameras."

That brings us up to Tuesday night, when Strauss-Kahn went out again for dinner at L'Artusi. Nobody leaked the menu this time, probably because it's just not as interesting now that he's free to go back there whenever he wants. That is, if he ever decides to return to New York.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.