By the time Whoopi Goldberg got on the mic at Shake & Bake—last night’s Whole Foods-sponsored fried chicken event—I had thrown away three-quarters of Jonathan Waxman’s deep-fried chicken thigh burger, half of Rachel McBride’s brûléed sweet-potato pie, and a healthy bite of John Mooney’s buttermilk fried chicken. I tossed meat into black plastic-lined cardboard boxes labeled recycling. After the first few times, I didn’t even feel things. My body was already preparing for the next mini meal before I even heard the greasy thump.
Whoopi Goldberg, standing alongside the other Shake & Bake hosts—Questlove, of the Roots, and Art Smith, former personal chef to Oprah (among other things)—spoke positively about the event, and the New York City Food & Wine Festival at large. After some wisecracks about fried chicken, food-induced lethargy, and race, she thanked everyone in attendance for supporting the fight against hunger. By purchasing a ticket, we had helped. (Well, those of us not in the media had helped. I had no excuse for my gluttony.)
I went outside to see what color Marcus Samuelsson’s clothes were. He wore a yellow tie and maybe a seersucker button-up? I’m not sure that that’s a real garment, but he was wearing one.
Goldberg explained that all of the net proceeds from the festival go to Food Bank for New York City and Share Our Strength®, both hunger-relief programs. Because of the food the crowd had eaten, the applause that greeted her remarks was meager—the itus, which she had foretold, had set in. She joked, and we laughed, and I thought about the food in the trashcans. Everyone must have. Anyone that’s attended NYCWFF has to do the mental gymnastics to justify the colossal waste committed so that other people, ultimately, won’t go hungry.
Pissed off because the chicken and waffles were kicked, I went outside to see what color Marcus Samuelsson’s clothes were. The other chefs wore orange outfits with their names sewn onto the breasts for easy identification, so that journalists and eaters could easily find them to grill them about their methods. People still managed to find Samuelsson. He wore a yellow tie and maybe a seersucker button-up? I’m not sure that that’s a real garment, but he was wearing one. I nabbed a plate of his fried yard bird, but not before a woman behind the table could look me in the eyes and intone: “Enjoy it.” I ate it all in one bite, glaring at her, but I’m not sure she saw. At least the food didn’t go to waste.