The Candidates Cookbook: Carlos Allen

CarlosAllen for Mayor

A special ES Local series, The Candidates Cookbook profiles each of the 2010 D.C. Mayoral candidates — from a foodie’s P.O.V.

I suppose the first question I should have asked Carlos Allen was what he thought of the White House State Dinner for the Indian PM — yes, this is the Carlos Allen who was accused of being the third White House Crasher. But now he wants us to know Carlos Allen as a Democrat running for the office of D.C. Mayor.

Carlos Eats Everything…As Long as It’s on Rice
Allen refers to himself as a “Mikey Eats Everything” kinda guy. “I just love eating all types of food. It wasn’t really hard for my mother to tell me to eat something,” says Allen. “If it was put in front of me, I was like Mikey — he eats everything.”

Originally from Panama, Allen says rice is his favorite food. “Everything else that goes along with the rice tastes good to me. I’m not a very picky person with regards to food but it has to taste good.” Allen wouldn’t commit to any restaurant in the city as his favorite, but emphasized his love of Asian, African and Indian cuisine — “so long as it goes with rice.”

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The Candidates Cookbook: Jason Anderson


A special ES Local series, The Candidates Cookbook profiles each of the 2010 D.C. Mayoral candidates — from a foodie’s P.O.V.

Running as an independent, Jason Anderson refers to himself as an “enigma.” Reflecting this, the underdog candidate chose not to provide a photo or campaign logo for this story.  He did, however, have plenty to say about food.

The D.C. Food Desert
“Food is a business, and the first priority for businesses and corporations is money,” laments Anderson. “Making money is more important [to corporations] than healthy living, which is a major contradiction, so it is more profitable to serve unhealthy foods and have people be unhealthy.”

This, explains Anderson, is why many D.C. neighborhoods are packed with fast food options but after 7pm have no healthy alternatives, “which plays a crucial part in obese Washingtonians.” As mayor, Anderson hopes to enact policies to diversify what he calls D.C.’s “food desert,” by making it financially viable for D.C. residents to open independent, healthy restaurants.

Back to the Farm
Anderson calls the “Healthy Schools” legislation a good start and says “a second step would be to teach students agriculture and introduce them to the farms. Youth only know the grocery store. Connect them with the food — not just the corporate connection.”

One organization Anderson points to as “important to the culture of learning,” is Heal Our Hood, a local initiative that provides nutritional and political education, including urban gardening, to the African community in DC. As mayor, he would work to expand similar programs throughout the school system.

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The Candidates Cookbook: Dennis Sobin

Dennis Sobin at Kennedy Center

Editors’ Note: While our first love here at ES is unquestionably food, we have to admit we get nearly as riled up about another favorite topic — politics. We’re always on the lookout for ways to combine the two, which brings us to our newest series, The Candidates’ Cookbook, in which DC-based correspondent Britannia interviews the 2010 Washington, D.C. mayoral candidates. He’ll ask each one to share their opinions on nutrition, obesity and of course, where and what they eat. All DC Mayoral candidates were invited to participates, so look for a new interview in this space each week.

Dennis Sobin is certainly one of the more colorful Democratic characters running for Mayor, and in a D.C. election, that says a lot. At a recent debate, instead of handing out leaflets promoting his campaign, Sobin handed out flowers, which he believes generated a greater impact on attendees. It’s also safe to say he’s the only candidate who was imprisoned as recently as 2009, which he credits for curing him of an illness. But enough with that — let’s hear what he has to say about food.

The Food Police
I asked Sobin if he would consider introducing bans on trans fats, as New York has done. He stressed that education, not legislation, is the key. “Educate the consumer and then let them choose what to eat. I’m not for putting the food police in restaurants, weighing people before and after they eat.”

“The head of a city has to lead by example, showcasing one’s easting habits, maintaining a good shape—exercise, home-cook and grocery shop carefully,” continued Sobin, who also talked of a personal habit he picked up from none other than my favorite Girl, Betty White.

“A good eating tip I got from reading about Betty White—she weighs herself every morning and if she weighs more than she did the day before she alters what she eats for the day. ” AMAZING! Sobin acknowledges that Mayor Fenty is indeed healthy and a good role model in that respect, but he believes it doesn’t compensate for the Mayor’s “corrupt and over-privileged government,” something Sobin hopes to eradicate should he be elected.

Food in the Schools
On nutritional standards in DC public schools, Dennis tells me that “good eating habits begin at an early age—you go to school to improve your mind so it doesn’t do much good if children leave with a bad body.” I asked whether he believes schools or the government should impose calorie limitations in school meals, and Sobin explained that he was a consultant for the USDA and appreciates the work they do, so he doesn’t see a problem with schools setting their own calorie limits, as long as they use the national standard and don’t over-legislate.

About that Prison Food…

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