The Magazine

Lunch with the Big He

Sep 30, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 04 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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This month’s issue of AARP The Magazine is chock-full of important news for your golden years. There’s an essay on Dr. King’s America. (We’re still not past racism.) A piece about Obamacare. (It’s going to be great!) And a long feature about Bill Clinton’s new-found veganism.

Bill Clinton and  Barack Obama leave a lunch at a Greenwi

Bill Clinton and Barack Obama leave a lunch at a Greenwich Village restaurant

The White House

The former president, once fond of Big Macs and pork rinds, has given up on flesh. For over three years, AARP reports, he’s had no meat, no game, no fish—not even any dairy products. What does he eat? At a lunch with the president in “a private room overlooking Manhattan’s busy Rockefeller Center,” Clinton serves—or rather, has served—“a dazzling kaleidoscope of a dozen delicious dishes: including roasted cauliflower and cherry tomatoes, spiced and herbed quinoa with green onions, shredded red beets in vinaigrette, garlicky hummus with raw vegetable batons, Asian-inspired snow pea salad, an assortment of fresh roasted nuts, plates of sliced melon and strawberries, and rich, toothsome gigante beans tossed with onions in extra-virgin olive oil.” He always did have a weakness for the extra-virgin stuff.

The piece is filled with classic Clintonian moments. The president discourses on diet—“heavily-processed carbs, you really have to control that.” And humbly brags about life as a semi-retired sultan, with talk about how his “house manager” prepares “simple meals” for him and his wife and how even the Peruvian president respected his veganism in preparing a dinner when he journeyed to South America for a visit.

Perhaps the best part is that the piece is written by Joe Conason, whom you might remember from the 1990s as the most slavishly partisan hack of the Clinton years, a guy who made even Sidney Blumenthal and Paul Begala blush. What has Conason been doing since Clinton rode off into the sunset? That’s in the article, too:

“I first noticed a change in Clinton’s eating habits when we were in Capetown, South Africa, back in July 2010. (I have been covering his extraordinary postpresidential career since 2005, interviewing him frequently and traveling with him across Africa, Europe and the Mideast, as well as the United States.)”

Clinton’s diet may have changed, but Conason is still dining out on the Big He.

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