Monday, June 30, 2008

Campaign Food

Posted By on Mon, Jun 30, 2008 at 3:19 PM

By CHARLES FERRUZZA

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In an election season, a tasteful “meet-and-greet” cocktail reception or brunch for a political candidate (with ample opportunity and pens for check-writing) is practically de rigueur for Kansas City hosts and hostesses with social consciousness – and spacious living rooms.

Last Sunday, Jordan and Betty Bushman opened their beautifully appointed Plaza condominium for just such a soiree.

This was an opportunity to nibble on canapes and discuss gas prices and such with current candidates Charles B. Wheeler, who’s running for Missouri State Treasurer, and U.S. Congressional candidate Kay Barnes.

The Bushmans hired society caterer Lon Lane to lay out a selection of pretty little finger foods that glittered on silver trays: tiny triangles of pink salmon layered with cream cheese, coin-sized cucumber sandwiches, delicate lemon-curd tarts topped with plump, fresh raspberries, bite-sized brownies.

Kay Barnes arrived in the middle of the affair. A black-clad waiter raced over to take her beverage request. “A glass of water, please,” she said.

And before she could take a sip, I pushed myself in front of her to ask a question about food. “You go to so many of these things,” I asked the former mayor, “and the food is almost always beautiful, but I rarely see you ever take a bite – before or after you speak. Are you afraid of spilling something on yourself? Getting food in your teeth? Too busy chatting with people to keep juggling a plate of uneaten delicacies?”

Kay flashed a big smile. “I’ll tell you a secret,” she said. “It’s all of those things and more. So I often take a plate with me to eat later. That might sound a little tacky, but I do. I think of it as my reward for not being able to actually eat at the events.”

With that, she took a sip of water and started working the room like a polished – and hungry – politician.

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