Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Scavenging along with the wolves at the VP debate

Veganism is weird enough, but freegan? Not only are they not eating cheese, they're getting fruit from dumpsters.

While I'm disgusted by the idea of a salad from a plastic bag from the darkened alley behind the grocery store, I too have been known to scavenge for food. I have a tendency to haunt the refreshment table after events held here at the university. It's a habit picked up back in college, when many a poor, starving student sat through arcane speakers or wandered blankly through new art exhibits just to get at the table of free pizza, brie cheese or mini-quiches.

Just last week dinner (a surprisingly taste pasta salad with artichoke and sun-dried tomatoes) came courtesy of a work meeting.

But as I learned working with John Edwards advance press for the VP debate yesterday, those piddling college refreshments got nothing on the leftover spreads for media people. You really want to eat well for free? Join up with the media corps. Reporters and journalists get treated to much better food, and there were always tons of food left over.

Just look at the lunch (I think catered by Executive Caterers) the press got at the John Edwards townhall meeting in Parma yesterday. The eggplant lasagna was hot and especially cheesy; the cheesecake brownies were yummy. The townhall meeting itself was fun; Dennis Kucinich walked right by me. He's awfully short.

Later that night (after 5 1/2 hours of waiting to get my upgraded, all-access credential, which leaves me with no great confidence in the efficiency of the Secret Service), just before the debate, we stumbled upon this abandoned feast between the media center and the inner sanctum where the party staff were hunkered down. It looked like dinner: salad, rice, chicken ... and four kinds of cheesecake, barely touched. I had the strawberry swirl cheesecake (thumbs up). I thought seriously of coming back after the debate to rescue these poor, neglected desserts.

The media center, during the debate. You can see on the second floor the Budweiser signs where the Anheuser-Busch food court was. They included such odd dishes as brown lentils, red cabbage sauerkraut-type stuff, and boiled potatoes. And, beer and ice cream bars, which cleaned out so quickly I didn't get any. I also saw the food table for the Edwards family and staff, which was provided by La Dolce Vita in Little Italy. I didn't get a picture but I had a nice chat with the La Dolce Vita staff guy.

I had to skip out of the debate early to escort some Fox News crew to the freaky cold rally site by the Botanical Gardens via bus. There, the press file (where the reporters type up their stories) was not only stocked with delicious hot chocolate but also chicken fingers, dessert, and these pigs-in-blankets.

So I ate well and had lots of fun in my stint helping out the Edwards campaign, even though I was exhausted this morning.

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