Sunday, November 05, 2006

Food for political junkies

There's an old cliché about “the rubber chicken circuit” for political speakers. I've had my share of mediocre banquet food listening to a variety of speakers, true, and come to think of it, there was a lot of chicken.

On the other hand, there's a lot to be said about true stump meeting feeds. Every region has its specialty to serve when a crowd shows up. When we lived in Louisiana, it was jambalaya or boiled crawfish – really! Growing up in South Carolina, politicians hosted a fish fry, unless the Catholics were involved – the Knights of Columbus had a lock on shrimp boils, somehow. Here in eastern North Carolina, campaign dinners mean barbeque, with plenty of vinegar and red pepper, and fried chicken.

For a “blue moon” election, a year with neither president, senator, nor governor on the ballot, there has been some serious campaigning in local circles. Our state senator, Fred Smith, is an acquaintance of mine, and my family has been to a couple of his local meetings recently (thanks for dinner last night, Senator). Our sheriff is a rising star in the state GOP, and while his challenger this year lost traction as soon as he got out of the driveway, Sheriff Bizzell sponsored The Big Event of the season last week – probably 800 people showed up for copious barbeque and dozens of candidates at Central Warehouse (Smithfield being a historic tobacco market town, no one has to ask what kind of “wares” they housed). The county GOP chairman asked me to let my son know there were plans for, yes, barbeque, at Republican headquarters for Tuesday evening's victory celebration – though word is there will be baby back ribs, too. We passed up several other invitations.

As much as I have enjoyed it, because dearly do I love barbeque and minding not a free meal, I had to identify with the wry comment of another political junkie last evening: “After Tuesday, Mama and I are going to have start going to the grocery store again.” Ah, well. We had leftover chicken and hush puppies, courtesy Sen. Smith, again at home this evening.

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