Vel-veto power Ro*tel dip, unimpeachable cobbler, and G.O.Peas 

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A new (waffle-free!) cookbook explains how to eat like a white bread country clubber

You are what you eat goes the old saying, and it goes to figure that if you eat food that's been bleached of any overt foreign- or nature-derived identity, not only will you feel more like a content member of the much vaunted American melting pot (albeit one with a trust fund and a silver spoon, thank you very much), you might also start to think that maraschino cherries are ... um, cherries.

Just in time for what will be either an inaugural or a farewell dinner for dear old "W," Susanne Grayson Townsend (Republicans of certain pedigree sport a minimum of three names - which, Jerry Falwell notwithstanding, it is still legal to acquire through sequential marriage and divorce, provided any subsequent spouse is valued at a minimum of 2.1 times the net worth of the previous spouse) has published the genteelly amusing How to Eat Like a Republican: or, Hold the Mayo Muffy - I'm Feeling Miracle Whipped Tonight. If the sight of Jenna and Barbara Bush "campaigning" for their father doesn't whet your appetite for EZ-Go carts and garden clubs that have nothing to do with dirt, perhaps Miss Scarlett's Marinated Saltine Salad will.

How To Eat Like A Republican
By Susanne Grayson Townsend
Villard
$14.95, 161 pages
ISBN: 0812971027
The economically conservative book bears several markers of authenticity, such as a discussion of "Cookin' with Coke" and a one-sentence chapter on fish. ("To tell the truth, Republicans don't much like fish." Shellfish is another matter because, we think, crustaceans call to mind the pleasantries of being "upper crust.") The recipes support the consumption of lime Jell-O, Lipton soup mix, and other materials found near the base of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

But we didn't want to take Ms. Grayson Townsend's expertise at face value. She lives in Manhattan after all, where she used to ply hyperbole on the blue-chip end of the advertising trade: "Nestle to Noxell ... Bermuda to Bristol-Meyers." She readily admits that "being a Republican in the Pink Apple is, next to the Maytag Repairman's, the Loneliest Job in Town." So we assembled our own dream team of right-wing recipe reviewers who brought to the table a century's worth of gustatory and political excess, er, expertise.

The cast of characters:
Ann Coulter
Pat Robertson
Warren G. Harding
Calvin Coolidge

"Progression is not proclamation nor palaver," began Harding, reprising a speech that received a hostile reception at his predecessor "Big Bill" Taft's nomination. "Progression is everlastingly lifting the standards that marked the end of the world's march yesterday and planting them on new and advanced heights today."

If the sight of Jenna and Barbara Bush "campaigning" for their father doesn't whet your appetite for EZ-Go carts and garden clubs that have nothing to do with dirt, perhaps Miss Scarlett's Marinated Saltine Salad will.

Miss Scarlett's Marinated
Saltine Salad

Serves 6

"I think it unlikely you find one member of the Writers Guild of America, East, who would crush up a bunch of Saltines, add Miracle Whip, and call it a salad," writes Grayson Townsend, "but I also dare you to find any dish in the Kerry Family Cookbook that tastes anywhere near as good."

1 sleeve Premium Saltines (not the oxymoronically named unsalted Saltines)

1 cup Miracle Whip, or mayonnaise, depending on where you were brought up

1 big ripe summer tomato, chopped, or 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 bunch green onions, chopped (yes, Aunt Nellie Jo knew Yankees called them scallions, which is, of course, precisely why she did not)

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

Garlic salt and black pepper to taste

Crisp crumbled bacon, for garnish (optional)

Tabasco sauce standing by

In a big bowl, coarsely crush the crackers with your hands, leaving good-size pieces. Add everything else but the bacon and Tabasco and mix well. Refrigerate overnight. Garnish with the bacon and serve, or say to hell with the bacon and eat it right out of the bowl.

The unwelcome reminder that "progressive" had once been associated with "Republican" almost put Coulter off her feed, but she rallied. "I made the Frozen Pumpkin Pie to commemorate the pie wagons in the Democratic party," she said, "made" here meaning "Made by Maria, my wonderful cook, I just don't know what we'd do without her," or "bought" in a pinch because it was Boxing Day. "If you read what those commies over at USAToday refused to print, you'll know how I feel about those pie wagons at the Democratic convention. I've never come across an attractive Democratic woman."

Harding nodded heartily. He may have been thinking he'd like to get the attractive Coulter into a closet at the White House.

"I was going to make my little specialty, which is not in the book, Red Herring Cocktail, in honor of my hero, Joseph McCarthy, who has been maligned unfairly and really helped to put Hollywood in its place back in the day," Coulter added. "If only he were around to handle Ben Affleck."

"As a newspaperman myself, I'd be delighted to print your coverage of the Democratic convention," enthused Harding, digging into the Marinated Saltine Salad for a third helping and throwing Coulter a jaunty wink.

Perhaps because he disapproved of the open flirtation when everyone knew good and well that Florence Harding - "the Duchess" as the President reverently refers to his wife - had baked his Commie Pinko Carrot Cake, Pat Robertson pushed his Buffalo Right Wings to the middle (of the table) and non-sequitered to domestic politics.

"Christ is the head of the household, and the husband is the head of the wife ... Asking me to go to the kitchen and cook is about the feminist agenda," he waxed dyspeptic, while Coolidge looked to be sorely missing the electric horse he rides for excercise. "It's not about equal rights for women. It's about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians."

His wife, he claimed, had whipped up the wings, but his bitterness was that of a man who had spent hours sweating in the kitchen while Coulter ran to Central Market.

"I've always said a man does his best thinking with his feet up on the table," ventured Silent Cal by way of agreement. "There's been far too much talking here, and not enough eating and drinking." With that he helped himself to Chicken Gizzard Candy with Ketchup and Coke, a savory, finger-friendly dish he had almost entirely to himself despite it's delectable name and an ingredient synonymous with Manifest Destiny.

"The Duchess would disagree with Mr. Robertson," Harding said apologetically. "She's a little out of hand, but she has a floating kidney, so you kind of have to make amends for her ... she blames me that we haven't had children. Can you believe that?" He eyed Coulter for signs of sympathy.

"It's a good thing, Warren, that it's been documented that you've had a couple of flings on the side," she obliged, in one of those brilliant Republican PR jujitsu moves.

"Carrie's a very special woman," Harding allowed with equanimity, feeling a fuzzy glow of contentment that could only have come from a fourth serving of the sublimely pasty Saltine Salad. "What we had was very special and Florence is totally fine with it."

(This last nearly caused Robertson to choke on a chicken bone.)

"Yeah, probably the most special 10 minutes a man could hope for," shot back Coulter, feeling, we might surmise, a surprising blush of jealousy over the 6-foot-tall, well-built president.

"Whenever you talk about progressives," she retaliated, "I get kind of worried that you might be one of those old-fashioned girlie-man Republicans. I prefer the neo-con, Rumsfeld sort. Cheney is the epitome of manhood as far as I'm concerned."

Rising to the bait, Harding pushed aside his gargantuan slice of Commie Pinko Carrot Cake, defended his pardon of Eugene Debs, and reminded Coulter of the Teapot Dome Scandal over oil leases in Wyoming. "I think Cheney and I are actually closer than you think."

"We should say grace now," interjected a visibly flustered Robertson. And they did. •


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