Sure, get your cheap gibes in about the Anthony Weiner restaurant.
After news leaked that Weiner’s name is associated with the Rockaway Restoration Kitchen, a nonprofit aimed at serving locally sourced food and providing employment to community members, everyone went nuts suggesting that it needed to serve “humble pie” (who wants to eat humble pie?) or even crow (even fewer people want to eat that). And that’s not the wurst of it. All the sausage jokes are the wurst of it.
I will not pretend that I was above this. I think Weiner’s Franks or Weiner’s Wieners or even Weiner’s Overpublicized Loins could be a great success, if only to season a brief season. (He definitely will need to hire someone else to do the photography if he wants the menu to look appetizing, though.) Or he could always go with something ethnic. I hear “Carlos Danger’s Last Resort” is available.
But no. He should dream bigger this time. This needs to be more than a publicity stunt. This can be a fresh start.
Not just another publicity flash-in-the-pan like that mayoral campaign, with another magazine spread, where the whole public has to watch his hopes slowly deflating. If anything flashes in the pan, it should be because he is using that pan to saute something. If there are going to be any spreads involved, they should be jams and preservatives. If there is anything slowly deflating, it should be a souffle that he’s worked very hard on and thought would stay up this time.
He’s grated on us. But now he can do it with cheese. He’s said “cheese” before when he should not have done so.
He’s been in pickles. He’s waffled, probably. He’s been in the soup, in the frying pan, out of the frying pan and in the fire. He’s been panned. He may even have been, at some point, sauced, although that was the least of his worries. By the time you get through with all the metaphors that can describe his situations, you feel certain that cookery is in his blood. He knew where his bread was buttered before. He can know it again.
He always wanted to serve New Yorkers, and now he can. He won’t have to be Weiner to them. He can just be frank. He’s stewed too long. Unlike FDR, he did not attend Groton, but he can now go from sighs of “Oh, Groton!” to serving potatoes au gratin.
He can arrange forks for fine dining, instructing people to “start on the far right or left and work your way toward the center” — instructions you never hear in politics now. Instead of kissing babies and pretending to be delighted to see them, he can send them out of the establishment the moment they begin to cry. The only thing he’ll have to shake is cocktails.
He’ll go from meet-and-greets to meat-and-greets, from denouncing pork projects to supervising their construction. He’ll still cater to groups, though.
Maybe he’ll even deliver what he says he will! And if not, there’s always take-out.
He’ll go from taking ill-advised pictures of himself that anger people on the Internet to Instagramming ill-advised pictures of his food that anger people on the Internet. The result will be the same, but tastier. Is figurative or literal sausage-making a more disgusting process? He’ll tell us, on Twitter, and this time we’ll be eager to see pictures of his sausage.
Or maybe he won’t need to overshare online at all. Perhaps in all of this, he’ll discover a passion and a joy in cooking he didn’t know he had (Isn’t that what always happens in movies when you open a restaurant?) and be so engrossed that we won’t have to hear about him anymore. Maybe these are his just desserts.
There may be no second acts in American lives.
But maybe there are second courses.