The War on Grub

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

Freedom to Forage: Can we still buy a 10-zillion calorie chili hot dog at a ballpark in Obama's America? Yes we can.Freedom to Forage: Can we still buy a 10-zillion calorie chili hot dog at a ballpark in Obama’s America? Yes we can (Photo: Tim Murphy).Marion, AlabamaOver the course of this trip, we’ve occasionally heard conservative talk show hosts lament the demise of what I guess you could call the Freedom to Forage: Apparently, the Obamas (they’re working together on this one) have unleashed something called the “Food Nazis,” who are heck-bent on confiscating all of your greasy, lardy, breaded, delicious grub. It’s unclear what their goal is, exactly, but nothing is safe from the Fried Reichnot family restaurants, not school cafeterias, not even ballparks.

Terrifying.

But also, well, baloney. The other day, Alex says he ordered a bacon cheeseburger that came with mashed potatoes and onion rings on top of the burger. That was an exceptional case, but only just so. In Atlanta, we stopped at The Varsity, a local fast-food joint that’s become a go-to spot for politicians and celebrities; there were no fewer than a hundred other people in line when we got there, many of whom ordered The Varsity’s signature dish: hot dogs slathered in chili and cole slaw, with a side of onion rings (at least Cole slaw and onion rings, can, if they go back far enough, trace their heritage back to vegetables). If this is the best the Food Nazis can do, Obama’s not nearly as dangerous as conservatives make him out to be.

Besides, even if we assume Obama wants to ban fried oreos or something, there are obvious political obstacles: If Obama shuts down all of the diners, where will he (and GOP nominee Haley Barbour) go for photo-ops come 2012? What will they eat at the county fairarugula? Logistically, it’s just an impossible proposition. So long as the political culture is so deeply connected to fast food culture (to say nothing of the legitimately terrifying food lobby), I think our chili hot dogs, half smokes, buttermilk biscuits, chicken and waffles, cheesesteaks, deep dish, pulled pork, and cisterns of sausage gravy aren’t going anywhere. But we’ll keep you posted.

Update: Right after I posted this, we drove to Montgomery to watch the Tampa Bay Rays’ AA affiliate, the Biscuits. True to form, their mascot is fluffy buttermilk biscuit named Monte (that’s him on the right; note that his tongue is actually a giant lump of butter). If Monte doesn’t do it for you, check out his sidekick, Big Mo, an anthropomorphized strip of fried chicken. With any luck, Montgomery will have a whole generation of children who grew up idolizing a 1,500-calorie snack. Anyways, let that be further proof, if you needed it, that the South’s heart-stopping culinary culture is still going strong.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate