Just as I hadn’t eaten at Wild Ginger in years until my recent dim sum meal (which taught us sexual lessons about sharing), other than an open house, I hadn’t been to Marjorie since the old Belltown location closed years ago. It was a place I recommended to many, where you could enjoy a lovely little courtyard and a turntable with records in your bathroom.
Marjorie’s been resurrected in Capitol Hill. My meal there included pizza, brulee fig salad with goat cheese cake, hanger steak, and a pork chop. But the best dish was rapini with capers, pistachios, pickled turnips, and golden raisins. I loved how the acidity and fruitiness of the other ingredients played off the bitterness of the rapini, also known as broccoli rabe.
So what does Marjorie’s rapini dish teach us about sex?
It’s all about the importance of considering your capers.
Looking at the photo, it’s obvious that the pickled turnips are a major source of the dish’s acidity. But the capers are there. These unripened flower buds are dried and then pickled in a vinegary brine, adding a bright accent wherever they go. They might be hidden, but they can have great impact.
The same with politicians’ sexual capers.
The next presidential election is more than a year away, but the campaign season is already in full swing. And as the Republican candidates try to out-”family value” each other with inevitable self-righteousness about issues like abortion and homosexuality, we’re likely to see some inevitable flip-flopping. In fact, we already have. Mitt Romney was once a pretty pro-choice politician, while Rick Perry believed states should make their own rules regarding gay marriage. Both have changed their positions to play to an increasingly right-leaning base.
And then there’s the inevitable hypocrisy. Consider Puerto Rican State Senator (and former Bush campaign vice-chair) Roberto Arango, who recently posted provocative pictures of himself on a gay website. Or former New York Congressman Christopher Lee, who tried to pick up women by posting topless pictures on Craigslist. Or Indiana state lawmaker Phillip Hinkle, who used Craigslist to offer to pay a man $140 to meet at an Indianapolis hotel “for a really good time.”
Oh, it’s not just the GOP getting caught having questionable sexual capers. Democrats do it, too, but the Democrats aren’t typically hateful hypocrites. One can argue that they’re just human. As are the Republicans, who are sadly so sexually repressed that they try to cover up their “sins” by legislating morality that can be so damaging and destructive–and distracting from the real issues our government should be tackling.
These Republican humans include Mark Sanford, David Vitter, Mark Foley, and John Ensign. The list goes on and on, and includes a guy named Larry Craig–former Senator of Idaho–who allegedly solicited sex with another man in a Minneapolis airport bathroom.
I laugh and then shake my head with sadness whenever I see that bathroom, as I’ll be doing today as I change planes en route from Grand Rapids back to Seattle. And then maybe to Capitol Hill for dinner, where restaurant bathrooms can be as “gay” and full of play as Marjorie’s.
First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on September 1, 2011.