HIGHTOWER: Let Them Eat Artichokes

Let's peek again into the Lifestyles of the Rich ... and Cranky.Today's tour of the estates of the elites takes us into the White House itself. None other than Hillary Rodham Clinton asks to be our tour guide. It seems the First Lady is writing another book -- a sequel to her earlier White House literary turns, including It Takes a Village and, of course, her most recent offering, Dear Socks, Dear Buddy, which was a delightful collection of children's letters sent to the First Cat and First Dog, respectively.This time, though, she tells us fascinating tales of her role as hostess, relating how the Presidential Couple entertains the privileged and the powerful. The new book is entitled, An Invitation to the White House. Even if you're among the 99.999 percent of Americans who never get invited to the White House, you'll probably find much that's useful here, including a glimpse of what one would serve to the prime minister of China! You just never know when Zhu Rongji might stop by, and there you are without a box of hamburger helper or anything.Hillary's four-color, cookbook-size volume will feature some 20 state events she has hosted, including photos and menus. Also, it will offer some 30 recipes that you, too, can serve the next time two or three hundred dignitaries come for dinner at your place -- assuming you have a chef and a full kitchen staff paid for by taxpayers.The First Lady's new book recalls for me another First Lady's effort to cope with public curiosity about food issues. In 1981, Nancy Reagan received an inquiry from a single mother who was getting $27 a month in food stamps. How, she inquired, was she ever going to feed her family on such a spare allotment? Nancy sent back a delightful recipe for a crab and artichoke dish the Reagans had served at a White House dinner. The cost of the dish: $20 per serving.This is Jim Hightower saying ... If we are what we eat ... what does this say about us?

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