by Kristidel McGregor
This morning I was in the middle of my usual morning routine (stretching my scalenes because I have a bum neck, drinking lots of black coffee, reading the newspapers online and trying not to curse in front of my kids) when I was confronted with this picture of the inside of two refrigerators. Pop Quiz: can you tell a Trump fridge from a Biden fridge?
This quiz lives behind a paywall, because it’s the fucking New York Times. But I give them money every month so I spent about 10 minutes of my life (minutes I’ll never get back) trying to guess someone’s political affiliation based on their brand of yogurt. Because as everyone knows, only Biden voters eat fancy yogurt (this shit is delicious btw).
This recipe includes a sauce that consists of tomato ketchup and butter, and it’s a cheap and easy dinner. Mamma June says she feeds the family of 6 on about 80 dollars a week, no easy feat.
Meanwhile, the New York Times cooking page has this recipe for tomato sauce, by famous chef Marcella Hazan, who they call “the cookbook author who changed how Americans cook Italian food.” They go on say, “don’t be scared off by the butter. It gives the sauce an unparalleled velvety richness.” The recipe for this famous sauce? A can to tomatoes (the fancy ones, of course), and a stick of butter. You also put a whole onion in the tomatoes while it simmers, just to take it out and throw it away.
What’s the main difference between these two recipes? Why is a can of tomatoes so very different, in the public eye and in how it is represented by the media, from a few squirts of ketchup? Both bring a tomato-y acidity, and the butter of course tastes good, it’s butter! But these meals are represented so differently for the same reason a McMuffin is different from a Double-smoked Bacon, Cheddar, and Egg: one has come to represent a certain social class, and other a very different one.