Why The World Doesn’t Work: The Case Of Jackie Kennedy’s Chef

hustebookThe world doesn’t work, and Ethics is always struggling to avoid losing ground. I collect stories that show why this is. Here is one from the obituary page, the saga of  the departed Annemarie Huste, who was Jacqueline Kennedy’s private chef.

In 1966, the former First Lady moved to New York from Washington, D.C., and in need of a private chef—rich person, you know— hired Huste, a young German immigrant whose previous employer, theater impresario Billy Rose (of “Jumbo” fame!), who had just died, rendering her skills superfluous. Huste did the job to Mrs. Kennedy’s satisfaction,  feeding the occasional hoards of family members who came to visit,  accompanying the Jackie, Caroline and John-John to the Kennedy compound Hyannis Port,  in the summers and playing with the children of JFK.

Then, in 1968, Weight Watchers Magazine approached her about cooperating in a feature called “Jackie Kennedy’s Gourmet Chef Presents Her Weight Watchers Recipes.” Huste dished about Jackie’s diets and dress sizes in the article, never asking for her famous employer’s permission or consent. Jackie Kennedy was horrified, and even tried to stop publication, something the Kennedy family was and is very good at. This time, it didn’t work.

A few weeks later,  Huste gave an interview to Maxine Cheshire, then the “beautiful people” gossip columnist for The Washington Post and syndicated nationally. In return for  inside-the-Kennedy-home details, Cheshire made Huste sound like the coming star of gourmet cookery, hinting that a television show, a cookbook, wealth and fame were just around the corner. What was really around the corner was unemployment: Jackie fired Annemarie Huste, who deserved it. Continue reading

Barbeque Ethics

In a provocatively titled post called “Screw Ethics, Good Barbeque is More Important”, the Dallas Observer food blog “City of Ate” made an interesting case.

“Yesterday’s Blues, Bandits & BBQ competition in Oak Cliff was a success on every score but flavor,” the post reads.
“Organizers estimate more than 1,000 people turned out to celebrate tunes and barbecue at the grassroots festival, which may have been the first in the nation to require its pit teams to use sustainable, grass-fed meats.” And the results were not good. The blog reported that noted judge and BBQ expert Daniel Vaughn tweeted afterwards:

“After dozens of samples of BBQ made from sustainably raised, grass-fed beef and pork, I must make the broad generalization that it sucks.” Continue reading