Whenever leaders of the free world meet to discuss important social and economic issues, investigative food reporters get into the hotel or palace kitchen to find out what’s on the menu.
I guess we need to know what our leaders are eating because food is important for all of us to function properly and it makes us, starving, malnourished, obese masses, happy that someone whom we elected to run the show on our behalf, is eating well.
We also know for instance that cigar-smoking former US president (Bill) Clinton is a terrible role model as he loved junk food and his favourite indulgence was burgers, steaks and barbecues and that he had to undergo bypass for four of his arteries as blood flow to his heart was getting blocked. (He now eats only plant-based foods).
I know that the third-richest man in the world, Warren Buffett, CEO Berkshire Hathaway (also known as the godfather of investing), loves hamburger. He is generously known to dust it with salt. That is not all. He loves the fat inducing sugary soft drinks.
I know this because I recently watched a series on Netflix, about Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, and his obsession with toilets, clean drinking water, preventing children from being stricken with polio, fossil-fuel free energy and cutting pollution.
Gates also loves Coke (the diet variety) and has a mini-fridge full of Coke cans while he ponders about the big questions on how to make the world a better place, during his periodic retreats.
In one of the scenes, we have Buffet and Gates sitting in a cafe, eating fast food. Buffet can be seen making light of how his daughter takes pictures of what’s on his plate and how she sends them off to his doctors, who immediately call to tick him off.
I guess even smart people can be dumb about their nutrition. (The reason these two are still healthy must be cause of good genes, their metabolism or the fact they are giving away most of their enormous wealth).
After reading a report in India Today, I know that an Indian-origin chef in Houston is preparing special dishes for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his trip to New York to attend the UN General Assembly meeting.
Modi must be one of the few world leaders who leads a healthy life; he is a vegetarian, does not smoke, does not quaff alcohol, does yoga regularly and is abstinent.
The prime minister earlier attended a huge meeting of the Indian diaspora, in Houston, Texas, dubbed as ‘Howdy Modi’, by his imaginative public relations team.
(I was expecting to see Modi get down from the plane wearing a ten-gallon Texan hat and snake skin boots like a character from a Coen Brothers movie. I am also sure the Indian-origin Americans do not speak English with a Texan drawl).
Back to food, and the chef has prepared two types of ‘thalis’ (platters); one Namo Thali and the other a sweet thali and all made with ghee, clarified butter, which some nutritionists say is terrible for your arteries.
The prime minister will dine on a Gujarati delicacy called ‘methi thepla’ (which incidentally you can also taste as Amazon sells it for Rs455 (Dh24), the ubiquitous samosa, ‘dal’ and ‘khichdi’, ‘carrot halwa’, ‘kheer’ and ‘gulab jamun’.
The chef had done research on what Modi’s mother used to make for him on his birthday. The report said Modi has not requested for any special food. He must be like my wife who enjoys eating anything.
It is however, sad the Indian prime minister has never enjoyed Hyderabadi ‘kathi dal’ (sour lentils) or ‘baingan’ (egg plant, brinjal or aubergine).
— Mahmood Saberi is a storyteller and blogger based in Bengaluru, India. Twitter: @mahmood_saberi