Is the Democrats' convention menu anti-south?

Is there an anti-Southern bias to the Democrats' planned menu at the convention in Denver late August?

According to one Denver councilman who was born in North Carolina, there is, foisted on convention-goers by Democratic "food zealots."

The convention host committee denies that there's a ban on fried foods. But obtained a copy of the catering proposals, including an odd one that specifies how many and which colors of food are supposed to appear on a plate.

Here are some of the requirements:

- No items are to be fried.
- Preference is to be given to vendors with "green" practices.
- At least half the meal must consist of fruits and/or vegetables.'
- Meals be colorful, including at least three of the following colors: red, green, yellow, blue/purple, and white. (Garnishes don't count.)
- Seventy percent or more of ingredients must be certified organic and/or grown in Colorado, by precooked weight.
- Seventy percent or more of ingredients must be fresh and not pre-processed, by pre-cooked weight.

Denver Councilman Charlie Brown says the stringent restrictions, especially the fried-food ban, will hurt the Democratic Party's image in the South.

"You can't turn red states blue, especially Southern states, without fried chicken," he says.

Of course, now that's he's raised such a stink about it, hasn't that damage already been done? By him?

Some of the requirements in the proposal certainly seem sound enough, especially for a party that's probably going to tout its plans to save the environment and improve health standards for future generations. But a couple of them definitely border on outlandish. Of course, the real fun starts when someone gets a hold of the GOP's catering requirements and does a side-by-side comparison. Can't you just imagine what the Republican food rules will be?

Michael Y. Park is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. He studied medieval history as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, and journalism as a graduate student at New York University. His stories have appeared in publications including The New York Times,the New York Post, and the Toronto Globe and Mail. He has feasted at a picnic with the king and queen of Malaysia, and dined on roadside kebabs while disguised as a Hazara tribesman in Afghanistan. He runs a monthly grilling competition in New York City and actually owns a kitchen torch.


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