Saturday, March 2

The complicated politics of food – POLITICO

Welcome to Declassified, a weekly humor column.

We now have an answer to the biggest food question Belgium has ever faced (and no, the question is not ‘What’s the deal with chicory?’). The real question is which are better, Liège waffles or Brussels waffles?

It’s the former. Not my words, the words of the most decorated gymnast in history, Simone Biles. The owner of seven Olympic medals, Biles wrote on the artist formerly known as Twitter: “still dreaming about the waffles from belgium” (Americans no longer use capital letters on social media to compensate for all those years of Donald Trump abusing the caps lock key).

Asked which type of waffle she prefers, Biles simply wrote “Liege” and three drooling face emojis.

Belgian politicians do of course like to use culinary terms to describe their ridiculously complicated ways of doing things. There’s “waffle-iron politics,” whereby for every euro (or franc, for older readers) spent on a project in Wallonia, the same amount is supposedly spent on a similar project in Flanders.

Then there’s the lovely expression “institutional lasagne” to describe the country’s multi-layered political architecture. It’s a great phrase although it would perhaps be more apt if it was “institutional lasagne that’s then thrown onto the floor from a great height.”

But what culinary term should we use for the European Parliament? This week, headline writers all over the Continent rejoiced as the train ferrying MEPs and staff to Strasbourg took a wrong turn and ended up in Disneyland. Let’s be clear, the Parliament’s ludicrous monthly treks to Strasbourg would be much more palatable if they instead always went to Disneyland Paris and had to do whatever it is MEPs do in Strasbourg (drink? have affairs?) while riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (apart from the Greens, who would refuse to ride a train that no longer meets modern emissions standards).

Back to food, and the Parliament is a bit like one of those all-you-can-eat buffets where they serve a bewildering array of dishes from around the world (“I think I’ll have carbonara and sweet-and-sour pork and a hot dog all on the same plate”) — but don’t really do any of them well.

As for other parliaments and their food equivalents, the British House of Commons is of course an Eton Mess, and the Italian parliament would have to be Amsterdam’s Kinderkookkafé, as it’s run by children.


“There was frenzied excitement in the final of this year’s Dictator World Championships.”

Can you do better? Email [email protected] or on Twitter @pdallisonesque

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Thanks for all the entries. Here’s the best from our postbag — there’s no prize except for the gift of laughter, which I think we can all agree is far more valuable than cash or booze.

“Look, look, over there: Rishi is trying to stop the boatsby Matthew Barnard.

Paul Dallison is POLITICO‘s slot news editor.

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