The Eating Habits Of Our Seniorest Senators

Via Lawyers, Guns and Money, we were treated to an interview with aging Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska on his food preferences:

“I have a piece of chocolate every morning, every morning…dark chocolate,” said Senator Stevens.

“I get fetishes. I don’t eat white potatoes. I don’t eat things that have white sugar in them. I get hooked on stories I hear and things I read, so I love sweet potatoes. Sometimes she cooks something and I don’t eat it. And she says, ‘You’re a nutritional terrorist, that’s all,’” said Stevens.

LGM posits that Stevens meant “fascistic,” but “fetishes” sort of makes sense in the context, too. But we must call into question the use of “terrorism” to describe Steven’s aversion to his wife’s cooking. No wonder we’ve been bumbling blind for the past six years!

The fact is, dark chocolate is good for you and white potatoes and sugar are bad for you, so at least Stevens has that much straight. But it made us wonder what our other octogenarian senators were eating these days. There are, after all, six of them! (And another twenty over seventy.)

• Robert Byrd (D-WV), the oldest Senator at 90, was reported by TIME in 1978 to “always eat lunch in his office, usually a bologna sandwich prepared by his wife Erma. Says he: “It saves time.” Besides, for Byrd, food is merely fuel, though he does confess an uncontrollable weakness for chocolate-covered cherries.” More recent accounts suggest that Byrd eats Spam and mayonnaise sandwiches thrice weekly, but this is apocryphal.

• Daniel Inouye (D-HI), oddly enough, also professes a preference for Spam and mayonnaise sandwiches. It’s really not that odd at all, given Hawaii’s illustrious history with the potted meat.

• Daniel Akaka (D-HI), for his part, introduced an amendment to the Senate in 2003 concerning the treatment of downed animals at slaughterhouses (relevant!) that ultimately passed. He’s also been honored by the Humane Society. So whatever Senator Inouye eats, he eats it ethically. (Bonus question: why are both of our Hawaiian senators 83-year-old Democrats named Daniel? They were born four days apart in September 1927!)

• John Warner (R-VA), recently released from the hospital, celebrated a birthday last week. According to the Hampton Roads Daily Press’s blog, “Warner, who maintains a trim figure, said he did not indulge in any birthday cake. But his wife Jeanne, he confided, ‘fixed a very special dinner for me.’ No word on what was on the menu.” Our guess - crab cakes.

• Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has professed a love of honey mustard chicken, telling the AP that “whenever I get the chance, I make my favorite recipe of honey mustard chicken, and when I’m out for dinner and it’s on the menu, sometimes I’ll try it, but it’s never as good as when I cook it at home.” What do we make of this “if you want it done right, do it yourself” ethos emanating from the senator? The mind boggles.

We do not find it remotely surprising that the mode turned out to be Spam and mayonnaise sandwiches; senators who survive to their ninth decade know not to bite off more than they can chew.

“I get fetishes” [Lawyers, Guns and Money]

List of current United States Senators by age [Wikipedia]

Byrd of West Virginia: Fiddler in the Senate [TIME]

Wha is spam? [Yahoo Answers]

Some Tid-Bits on Spam [The History Crier]

Senate Adopts Downed Animal Protection Amendment []

Humane Society Honors Sen. Daniel Akaka for Animal Welfare Work []

Belated birthday wishes….. [The Shad Plank]

Crab Cakes [First Traveler’s Choice]

Honey Mustard Chicken [First Traveler’s Choice]

Cookbook features politicians’ creations [Laredo Morning Times]

Congress Cooks! [First Traveler’s Choice]

[Photo: actually a bologna and mayo sandwich. But close enough. Sarah Reed/flickr]


The Eating Habits Of Our Seniorest Senators