The President's Mystery Lunch

By Kristin Donnelly Posted April 27, 2007

I promise I’ll write Part II of Greening the Kitchen next week, but this couldn't wait.

In my e-mail inbox this morning from a friend at National Journal:

“We were watching the press coverage of Bush's meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister and apparently they are eating ‘fruited slaw’ with their all-American lunch today.  That sounds disgusting to me and kind of not really slaw-ish.  A Web search for ‘What is slaw?’ was not very fruitful.  So I ask, what is slaw?  And can it really be fruited in a way that is not disgusting?  Or is that just a fancy way of saying ‘ambrosia’?”

Slaw implies some sort of crunchy salad with shredded vegetables. According to the Food Lover’s Companion by Sharon Tyler Herbst, slaw comes from the Dutch word for salad. But fruited slaw as part of an “all-American” lunch? Perhaps circa 1977. Google is so unfamiliar with fruited slaw that it asks, “Did you mean ‘fruit salsa’?” Sadly, no.

A quick office poll showed that no one really knows what the White House means by fruited slaw. Executive food editor Tina Ujlaki suggested they are simply trying to channel the fruited plains in the song, “America the Beautiful” or perhaps shredded carrots with apples. Grace Parisi and Melissa Rubel in the Test Kitchen thought it is probably something as simple as coleslaw with raisins.

After my half hour of sleuthing, I still don’t know exactly what Bush and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ate along with their cheeseburgers and onion rings this afternoon. Anyone have insights so my work today isn’t fruitless?  

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