G8 conspicuous consumption

The Guardian notes that after a day of discussing food shortages and soaring prices at the G8 summit, the G8 leaders sat down to “an eight-course, 19-dish dinner prepared by 25 chefs”

The G8 gathering had been seen as a “world food shortages summit” as
leaders sought to combat spiralling prices of basic foodstuffs in the
developed world, and starvation in the developing world.

But
not since Marie Antoinette was supposed to have leaned from a
Versailles palace window and suggested that the breadless peasants eat
cake can leaders have demonstrated such insensitivity to daily hardship
than at the luxury Windsor hotel on the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

After
discussing famine in Africa, the peckish politicians and five spouses
took on four bite-sized amuse-bouche to tickle their palates. The price
of staple foods may be soaring, but thankfully caviar and sea urchin
are within the purchasing power of leaders and their taxpayers – the
amuse-bouche featured corn stuffed with caviar, smoked salmon and sea
urchin, hot onion tart and winter lily bulb.

Guests at the
summit, which is costing £238m, were then able to pick items from a
tray modelled on a fan and decorated with bamboo grasses, including
diced fatty tuna fish, avocado and jellied soy sauce, and pickled
conger eel with soy sauce.

SNIP

Leaders cleverly skated around global water shortages by choosing from five different wines and liqueurs.

Ouch

11 thoughts on “G8 conspicuous consumption

  1. Don’t forget a little extra extravagance – Dubya’s meal was prepared by his own entourage, from ingredients brought along.
    Any time you see the POTUS eating ceremonial dinner, they found out what was on the menu, brought the ingredients along, and prepared his food.
    “The presidential food safety team’s responsibilities go well beyond packing up a squeeze bottle of Horsey Sauce if the POTUS indicates that he’s thinking Arby’s. In his 2005 book Standing Next to History, former Secret Service agent Joseph Petro — who spent 23 years in the suit and shades — writes, “In principle nothing edible gets near the President unless we know where it comes from and who has handled it.” When the president digs in at a state banquet, Petro informs us, he’s eating basically the same stuff as everyone else in the room, but his helping has been prepared specially by White House stewards, who suit up to match the other servers at the event and carry his plate out themselves. For events in foreign countries, it’s the same thing but more so. Petro writes: “Stewards find out what’s being served at the banquet and bring the ingredients with them from the United States.”
    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/080704.html
    Tommy

  2. Well, if that is true (and I am inclined to believe it, but doesn’t the chimp realize we don’t want him dead, we want him impeached, and charged w/crimes against humanity and war crimes) – and all the other bigwigs are doing the same – why not not waste the money on the big splashy gourmet meal and just tout it as a G8 brown bag – I would think they would be getting down to brass tacks a LOT more business-like. That is, AFTER chimpy tries to filch everyone else’s cookies. Plus, the money saved on the gourmet meal can be donated to a local food pantry/program. Oh, wait – I just woke up – will never happen.
    Elspeth

  3. Damnit – Marie Antoinette was not being ‘cavalier’ in saying “if they have no bread, can they not eat cake?” She thought they might have an alternative and honestly hadn’t a clue as to the shallowness of the pantries of the peasantry. She actually did all she could to help – considering her position was pretty much relegated to popping out heirs and playing employer to the social-climbing French aristos. (believe me, I have read MANY biogs)
    The “Let them eat cake!” said in a callous vein was said about a century before by Maria Theresa of Spain (wikiquote has this and another option by Rousseau). What Antoinette said was taken out of context by the folks wanting to further hate the Austrian and the destruction of the noblesse oblige owing to the sad state of economy that Louis XV left his grandson. At the point Louis and Antoinette ascended to the throne, the damage was done and though they tried to economize on many things, the strictures of society (and that the other nobles would lose BIG if the cuts were allowed to proceed), nothing of note ever happened. But the populace wanted a target, the Famille Royale was just that…especially since she was a hated Austrian…even tho’ she was the one sold into marriage.
    Elspeth

  4. At a cost of 238m pounds. I’m trying to remember how the British use the little m – to denote millions or thousands.
    Even for thousands, 238,000 pounds would be around a cool half million dollars. Admittedly there are security concerns, but couldn’t they have slummed in a Holiday Inn with a conference room?

  5. one of these meeting they should eat like africans. maybe some rice. maybe some beans.
    heck, let UNICEF feed them.

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