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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, June 24, 2024

Caryn Horowitz | The Cultural Culinarian

As you go out about your business today — going to class, the gym, grocery shopping and whatnot — there are two nuggets of information that I would like you to keep in the back of your mind. Both involve food scandals and prominent Republican women. So remember to think about these tidbits during your Tuesday, Nov. 4 routine, which should include something like, say, going to the polls.
    The first involves none other than the lipstick-wearing pitbull herself, Gov. Sarah Palin, in an event dubbed "Salmongate" by Barry Estabrook of Gourmet magazine.
    Let me summarize: The Clean Water Initiative, or Ballot Measure 4, proposes to restrict the amount of pollutants that mines can dump into Alaskan water. The measure targeted a mine that was dumping upstream of Bristol Bay, a sustainable wild salmon fishery. Palin spoke out against the Clean Water Initiative, saying "Let me take my governor's hat off for just a minute here and tell you, personally, Prop 4 — I vote no on that."
    Here's where it gets interesting: According to an Aug. 22 article on "Salmongate" from KTUU, an Alaskan NBC affiliate, "It is against the law for the governor to officially advocate for or against a ballot measure." Palin said she had the right to take "personal privilege" to publicly discuss Ballot Measure 4.
    The entire ordeal was extremely … fishy. Why would Palin clearly break Alaskan law to speak out against a ballot measure that is intended to help a $250 million business, which just happens to be one of the largest sustainable salmon fisheries in the world? Proponents of the bill called Palin's political ethics into question after she made that comment; you can't just pretend you're not the governor when you make a statement to the press.
    The second scandal involves Cindy McCain and what has since been dubbed "Recipegate." Last April, a lawyer from New York Googled the ingredients from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe that she wanted to find. The top hits in the search were Foodnetwork.com and John McCain's campaign Web Site. Both had recipes that matched the ingredients of her search. Interesting.
    There used to be a section of the McCain site called "Cindy's Recipes" that listed "McCain Family Recipes," such as ahi tuna with cabbage slaw and passion fruit mousse. The only source given for the dishes was Cindy herself. After doing some research, the lawyer discovered that every "McCain Family Recipe" had an almost identical match from the Food Network.
    "Cindy's Recipes" were promptly removed from the McCain site when the story broke in April, but you can still find screenshots of the pages online; they are almost word-for-word the same as the Food Network recipes, which are protected under intellectual property laws. It would have been a different story if they were called "McCain Family Favorite Recipes" and were put on the site properly attributed to the Food Network with permission to do so from the celebrity chefs. This was not the case, however, and since Cindy falsely accredited the dishes to herself, this was recipe plagiarism. The McCain campaign called the incident a "low-level unpaid staff debacle," blaming the plagiarism on an intern.
    So, while you are making other important Tuesday, Nov. 4 related decisions, you can decide for yourself why Sarah Palin would blatantly disregard Alaskan law with her advocacy against a sustainable salmon fishery or why Cindy McCain, or an aid of an aid or whoever in the McCain camp did it, would plagiarize Food Network recipes. These incidents are just some food for thought.

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Caryn Horowitz is a junior majoring in history. She can be reached at Caryn.Horowitz@tufts.edu.


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