There was a flap a couple weeks back when Barack Obama ordered dijon mustard at a historic burger joint in Virginia. This was considered indicative of Obama’s elitism because he can’t eat ketchup on his burger like reg’lar folks. “What kind of man orders a cheeseburger without ketchup, but Dijon mustard?” Laura Ingraham asks. The answer, David Frum unearths, are those effete coastal elites in Texas. Actually, the Texans prefer regular mustard, but no ketchup.
So how ridiculous is it that these right-wing blowhards are trying to mock Obama for liking Dijon mustard? Republicans have indeed made an art out of criticizing the culinary choice of Democratic politicians. Remember John Kerry’s infamous preference for swiss cheese on his Philly Cheesesteak instead of Cheez Whiz. Yet as much as we might want to chalk this up to the intellectual bankrupcy of conservatism, does anyone doubt for a moment that certain corners on the left would take swipes at a Republican candidate with a soft spot for Spam or, for that matter, Cheez Whiz? In fact, in a post ridiculing Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and others, Jason Linkins goes out of his way to denigrate people that eat ketchup:
What kind of man orders a cheeseburger without ketchup? Uhm, how about a FULL GROWN ONE? Ketchup, and it’s cousin “catsup,” doesn’t come near my food, because I am no longer a small child.
Ahhh, so ludicrous as it is to ridicule a mustard-eater as an elitist, calling ketchup lovers immature is just calling a spade a spade, I guess.
One funny aspect in all this is that in Obama’s second book, a guy named Aaron reminds us that his preference for Dijon mustard makes an appearance in his second book:
He was at a restaurant with his campaign consultant who had been coaching him on how to behave in rural Illinois. He asked the waitress for Dijon mustard, and the consultant waved him off: “He doesn’t want Dijon.” The consultant then shook at him a bottle of French’s already on the table. “Here’s some mustard right here.”
The moral of the story was that the waitress, an actual Real American, was puzzled by the consultant’s Old Politics assumptions, not Obama’s mustard preference. The suggestion, seemingly, was that our nation is not as sharply divided over mustard as pundits would have you believe, and as a result it is possible to solve real problems. Story on p 49.
Everyone’s mileage on this varies. I come from a pretty red part of the country but it wouldn’t occur to me to mock someone for wanting Dijon mustard on a burger. Maybe it’s cause I was raised all wealthy and stuff. Nor would it occur to me to denigrate someone that likes ketchup (or, for that matter, Swiss cheese or Cheez Whiz).
For my part, I am not a big fan of ketchup. Whatever appreciation for it I once had I lost when I had a roommate (a Republican… ooooooh) that put gobs of the stuff on everything. It made me so sick of the smell I avoid it whenever I can. In Deseret they have this stuff called Fry Sauce that is a mixture of ketchup and mayo that tastes pretty good. And I’ll put ketchup on black-eyed peas because God intended ketchup to go there. But that’s about the extent of it. I eat Dijon mustard on Subway sandwiches, but that’s about it. I used to eat regular mustard on burgers, but I didn’t like the way it mixed with the cheese and so I stopped. Now I put mayo or salad dressing, if anything. In solidarity with our president, though, as well as a desire to consume less fatty mayo, I will start putting mustard on my burger. I may even go all coastal and go with Dijon.