In arranging a dinner with the former senator last year, one host asked whether Kerry had meal preferences.
One aide e-mailed: “Anything is good, as long as there is no celery involved.” Celery?
Shades of President George H.W. Bush’s war on broccoli back in 1990, when he famously declared: “I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid, and my mother made me eat it. I’m president of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.”
The edict, banning the offending vegetable from the White House and Air Force One, outraged broccoli farmers and the nutrition-minded.
But simply eschewing celery — while sure to upset the farmers — isn’t very much to go on when you’re putting on a full dinner.
So a second aide, apparently speaking with deep knowledge, refined the menu suggestions:
“He particularly enjoys scallops. . . . You’ll also do well with lamb chops, shepherd's pie, simple salad, clam chowder, chocolate desserts, ice cream. Apple juice, water, Zinfandel wine, Sauv Blanc. He doesn’t drink coffee and the celery restriction is accurate.”
Sounds very New England, maybe a bit old-fashioned. (But best not go overboard into a New England boiled dinner or creamed chipped beef.) In addition, we’ve heard it’s best not to serve farm-raised salmon. Good to know Kerry drinks water. It’s unclear whether sparkling or still, so offer both, just not tap.
Remember, a well-fed secretary of state could be the margin of difference in tense negotiations.
Closed doors, open windows
Former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm’s name has been floated for many Cabinet jobs, including secretary of labor or transportation or energy.
But she’s thinking she may be out of the running.
Granholm, who last year hosted a show called “The War Room” on Current TV — the network Al Gore sold in January to al-Jazeera — said Sunday that she’s “probably” going to work at the Pew Charitable Trusts as a spokeswoman on clean-energy matters, though it’s not a “done deal.” (Quite so — a source at Pew says it’s not going to happen.)
Granholm, interviewed on “Platts Energy Week,” an all-
energy news and talk show, said she’d been watching confirmation hearings in the past few weeks.
“If you think it was hard getting Hagel confirmed,” she said, referring to Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee for defense secretary, “imagine somebody who has run a progressive talk show for the past year, probably poking a few Republicans in the eye,” maybe even some who will be voting on her nomination.
“I might be a little bit of a tough” challenge to confirm, Granholm said, “but I’m going to do all sorts of stuff serving on the outside, for sure.”
Sounds as though a Cabinet post is not in her future. On the other hand, there are good jobs that don’t require confirmation.