The Korean President’s Dinner: President Obama, I Owe You This One don't LOOK Japanese!

Having joined reflexive Obama-bashers by assuming the worst based on an unjustified reading of a leaked diplomatic cable and subsequently criticizing the White House for something it did not do, allow me to continue my contrition and repentance by flagging another example of the same phenomenon, also involving Asian diplomacy and equally unfair, being trumpeted by some of the same sources that led me astray.

The headlines: “ANOTHER WHITE HOUSE STAFF SCREWUP”  (Instapundit) …“Obama Honors South Korean President With Japanese Food” (The National Review)

Where did this come from? USA Today reported the fare for the upcoming  White House dinner honoring South Korean President Lee Myung Bak:

The full dinner menu:

First Course:
Butternut Squash Bisque, Honey Poached Cranberries, Virginia Cured Ham, Pumpkin Seed Praline, Crème Fraiche

Second Course:
Early Fall Harvest Salad on Daikon Sheets, Masago Rice Pearl Crispies, Rice Wine Vinaigrette

Main Course
Texas Wagyu Beef, Orange-Ginger Fondue, Sauteed Kale, Roasted Kabocha Squash

Chocolate Malt Devils Food Layers With Pear and Almond Brittle

An American wine will be paired with each course.

Noting the undeerlined selections, National Review writer  Greg Pollowitz snarked,

“What’s next? German beer for when Netanyahu visits? Does the President of the U.S. not know the history of Japanese atrocities in WWII? Koreans in all 57 states would like an explanation.”

Funny…except that Diakon and Kabocha squash are both common ingredients  in South Korean cuisine despite their Japanese names, and serving a Japanese breed of cattle raised on a Texas ranch is hardly a faux pas. It’s American cattle by the time it gets to the table, pardner!

I am, obviously, aware that President Obama’s White House staff and his advisors have been unacceptably inept and careless on too many occasions, but like everyone else, they deserve to be criticized when they actually fail, rather than when journalists, bloggers and critics eager for a “gotcha!” don’t do their research.

9 thoughts on “The Korean President’s Dinner: President Obama, I Owe You This One

  1. I am just so relieved! The Obama administration can’t get anything right when it’s policy-related, but they do know their food! I feel so much better about our Executive Branch now! Kudos to them, and to you, Jack, for admitting an error.

  2. Dear Jack,
    I have read your blog and I like it a lot. I am a Swedish student who’s taking a Business Ethics class where our assignment is to analyze different ethics blogs. I would appreciate if you took a few minutes to answer a few questions.

    How do you look at moral leadership? How is a good leader acting according to you and what are many leaders doing wrong in todays business according to you?
    This may be a personal question, but only answer if you feel comfortable with it. Are you a democrat or a republican?

    When you look at a ethical dilemma, what is the first thing that comes to your mind. Do you look from different ethical theories perspectives (utilitarism, egoism etc)?

    Thank you,

  3. There is no such thing as “Wagyu Beef” . Wagyu means cow. Plus the cows in Texas are not true japanese “wagyu” as they have been cross bread with Long Horns.

    • Well, “no such thing” is a bit misleading—it is not a breed of beef. The term is used to describe any Japanese breed of beef. If they just said they were having “Wagyu”, everyone would ask, “What’s THAT?” Answer: beef. So it saves trouble and time.

      • Saying wagyu beef makes as much since as saying cow beef. There are five major breeds of Wagyu in Japan with each breed being associated with different prefectures which each raise their wagyu in dfferent ways. The proper discription would have been have been Texas beef as that is where the beef was from.

        Lableing something Wagyu beef is like the the mushroom farmers who had an abundance of overgrown brown muchrooms that they couldnt sell so they labled them portabelllo and created a market for them when all them.

    • True enough, Bill. The crossbreed between the longhorn and the imported British Black Angus led to a breed that combined the hardiness of the longhorn and the “meatiness” of the angus. That, plus the advent of the railroads, made the Texas cattle industry and pulled the state out of the post-war depression. Purebred longhorns are actually fairly rare these days.

      • Sorry I should have said Angus not long horn.

        And I would rather have the Texas Angus steak versus the japanese. I alsywas found Kobe beef to tasteless.

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