January 29, 2009
Just about a year ago, Slate.com came out with an Encyclopedia Baracktannica widget. It was a collection of tongue-in-cheek puns dreamed up by the editors in response to what we know now was just the first trickle of Obama wordplay.
As the campaign went on, the punning inventions – I like to call them “neobamalogisms” – gained force and flooded the driest reaches of the political vocabarackulary. Then came the election – and now the inauguration – ushering in at least four more years of grafting one or another of the man’s funny-sounding names onto places they don’t really fit. Foodies, it turns out, are as eager as anyone to jump on the barackwagon.
Need proof? How about 80-proof, as in Hennessy’s limited edition “44″ cognac in honor of the 44th president? Or, swallow the cold hard truth over at Ben & Jerry’s, with their Yes Pecan! limited edition ice cream. The list goes on, I’m afraid… all the way to hot sauce.
Did you hear about InagurAle? It’s a new batch of Audacity of Hops, a beer first brewed for election night by homebrewer Sam Chapple-Sokol. The bloggers at Internet Food Association have a review for you. They were kind in a shocked sort of way: The beer was way more coffeeish than they were expecting, but they did allow that you can barely tell it’s homebrew. (Coincidentally, a Colorado brewery has used the Audacity of Hops name on its own beer – see their inspirational poster.)
Plenty of other breweries saw puns in their future, too. But owing to beer’s occasionally seedy image and our country’s Puritan streak there’s actually an agency that protects presidents from being, er, plastered onto beer labels, according to beernews.com. The Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has already nixed some good ones, the site reports, including names like Baracktoberfest and Mavericks Obama.
You know your new president has hit the big time when his inauguration inspires not one but two international art pizzas. First there was this version of the Obamas on the big day. The Napolitano chef used considerable skill, not to mention eggplant, to get the color of Michelle’s outfit just right.
Gourmet played it pretty straight with their coverage of the top five tastes of inauguration weekend. Perhaps it’s harder to come up with puns when the dishes start off unpronounceable (Bottarga at Zaytinya, anyone?). The most familiar item I saw was chestnut pancakes, and even they wound up underneath some caviar.
It is with some dismay that I direct you to Obama’s own chili recipe, as cooked by Hopie’s Kitchen. It pains me to think that our president could be facing such hard times without a decent chili recipe to fortify himself and his cabinet. Clue #1: no self-respecting chili recipe should contain green peppers. Neither should it contain kidney beans or the flageolet Hopie used. The name of the game is pinto, pinto, pinto.***
Yamahomo, over at Umami Mart, celebrated the inauguration Japanese style, with some homemade mochi. Did you know you can buy an appliance that will make this sticky rice dough for you? It’s kind of a cross between a rice steamer and a bread maker, and apparently you can fit one under your desk. Suddenly I want one.
So how did I do? How many Obama foodie puns—either real or dying to be made real—did I miss in my quick survey? At any rate, they’re inescapable, and you can rest assured that more will have been invented by tomorrow. So here’s one last link to keep an eye on: Obamorama Obamafoodorama, a blog devoted to food in the Obama administration. It’s funny, serious, current, and totally worth reading. I’d call it baracktically indispensable.
***Yes, I am hereby offering my services to cook up some proper chili for the Obamas should the state of the world someday demand it
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