A revolution is afoot at the deli counters, grills and salad bars of the U.S. House of Representatives.

According to Politico, the cafeteria in The U.S. House of Representatives is now a very different place.

The processed cheese has been replaced with brie. The Jell-O has made way for raspberry kiwi tarts and mini-lemon blueberry trifles. Meatloaf has moved over for mahi mahi and buns have been shunted aside in favor of baguettes.

The menu transformation is part of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “Greening the Capitol” plan to make the House campus more environmentally friendly and “socially progressive.”

Some employees are complaining that this new “socially progressive” campus is also becoming progressively more expensive.

“It’s a big jump from high school cafeteria to fancy-pants gourmet. I just wish my pay improved,” said Caryn Schenewerk, a staffer for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).

House officials counter that the fresher and more varied foods were indeed more expensive but that they had tried to preserve low-cost alternatives such as pizza, sandwiches and prepared salads, which remain around the same price.

When you actually read what some of the new meal choices are you really can’t help but laugh. The food sounds good, but it just seems out of place in the congressional cafeteria.

You can now get pan-roasted Chesapeake rockfish with sweet potato fennel hash and yellow pepper relish. Or something a bit lighter like Pears with Stilton cheese and watercress.

Staffers who find themselves emotional and weary after a long day fighting for a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq might wish to dine on Cumin-scented leg of lamb with almond couscous.

There are also vegetables with funny names, like bok choy, arugula and jicama. There are baked goods with Italian names, like biscotti, focaccia and frittati.

With the immigration debate raging it only made sense to put something besides “Juan Valdez” in the vending machine that sells coffee.

Employees can now enjoy more politically neutral coffee from famed chef Wolfgang Puck, in flavors like “Vive la Crème Caramel” and “Tropic of Chocolate.”

Even the things that haven’t changed seem odd because their names are in foreign languages. The taco bar is the “Taqueria.” The grill is “A la Plancha.” The salad bar has expanded to “Salad/Antipasti.”

A person eating in the cafeteria is also afforded the opportunity to save the earth in a variety of new ways.

Regular trash bins have been replaced with recycling stations. Each station has four differently shaped slots to sort garbage and lengthy directions on proper sorting. Soup containers go into the square-shaped “compostable” slot, but soup lids end up in the rounded “landfill waste” slot.

Other environmental touches include Energy-efficient vending machines that sport a 6-foot-tall illuminated image of trees.

A poster trumpets the existence of a “pulper,” a big machine that mashes up waste into little cubes that go to compost centers, where, eventually, they biodegrade into dirt.

Nearly everything in the new cafeterias is biodegradable, from plates to utensils to straws. The biodegradable straws have caused considerable outcry, because when placed in hot liquids they allegedly disintegrate.

House officials contend that employees need to quit crying about the straws and sip their coffee like normal human beings, because “we’re trying to save the planet here.”

There is absolutely nothing wrong with making the cafeteria more environmentally friendly and the food a bit better quality.

What is amusing are the menu choices, because they totally validate the stereotype about “liberal elitism” and being completely out of touch with average Americans.

You can just picture John Kerry enjoying a nice lunch of Cumin-scented leg of lamb with almond couscous.

-Chris Jones
The Hot Joints


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