The most striking thing about Donald Trump is that his personality is so monolithic. Everything he says and does, every story about him is a supporting paragraph to the main thesis of his childish vulgar stupidity. If there’s any justice to his presidency it’s the poetic kind, where Americans are finally represented to the world by a man who embodies all our most negative national stereotypes. He cheats at golf and likes bad food? Of course he does.
So when a reporter tweeted out a picture of the food on Air Force One earlier this week, it seemed, as always, on-brand for the president.
The food on Air Force One today, via the press pool pic.twitter.com/HrGJ2vdWk2
— Michelle Kosinski (@MichLKosinski) October 28, 2019
It’s not as if we expect airplane food to look good, even if the airplane in question happens to be one specially designed for the most powerful office in the world. Even so, there was something especially sad about this dish — its mix of rote cooking and enforced cheer, the spread of undressed, wilted mixed greens, fresh from a bag, underneath the main food screaming FUCK YOUUUU so loudly that it turns the stuffed pepper’s crooked smile into bad parody.
Like all things related to Trump, it also managed to be both almost too stupid to contemplate and impossible not to discuss. What is inside that pepper? What is that white stuff on top of the pepper? And for the love of God, what the hell is that thing on a separate plate on the left? The longer you stare at it, the more the possibilities expand. It’s almost a Rorschach test. Is it a glazed scone? A chicken thigh smothered in gravy?
In an attempt to answer these questions, I set out to try to recreate the dish myself. This would be dumb as hell but I do love a cooking challenge. First, ingredients. Some decisions were fairly obvious.
Bagged salad was probably the most obvious ingredient, other than the orange bell pepper and tomatoes (possibly the only obvious ingredient that I would actually buy). I’m pretty sure I saw a baby spinach leaf and some red lettuce in there.
Ooh, that’s helpful.
So peppers, mixed green, tomatoes… but what was inside the peppers? Thinking logically, some kind of ground beef mixture would seem like the most obvious filling for a stuffed pepper. Though that wouldn’t explain the chunky, zombie vomit texture that seemed to be peeking out in the smile.
What would be chunky and Fall-themed? I’m guessing some kind of squash. I split the difference and went with ground beef and zucchini. Which still left the strange schmear of white stuff at the top flecked with black. The Uproxx Slack channel had some plausible suggestions for what this might be. Ranch dressing? Possibly. Certainly color appropriate. Cream cheese? I could believe either — cream cheese being an especially good guess, because “cream” is the only variety of cheese I can imagine being served at a Trump event that wouldn’t be bright yellow or DayGlo orange. It definitely wasn’t fresh mozz.
Here’s what I went with:
Mashed potatoes seemed the most logical choice. It would explain both the whitish color and the black flecks (pepper), and it followed from my ground beef filling decision. The mashed potatoes turned the dish into a kind of stuffed pepper/shepherd’s pie frankenfood.