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September 13, 1991 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-13
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Lun2hin'w ghIvwi and Other Tafes~
An s-eyView o4-Michigan 's Senator
n ern s

Food for Thought: A,',Culinary Ma

by Lisa Bean

Even after weeks of spring
cleaning, U.S. Senator Carl Levin's
office in Washington, D.C. looks
more like the home of an
overworked professor than a
Congressional office.
Piles of papers, books and
unusual objects with long histories
litter the desks, floor, chairs and
every available crevice. Photos of
Levin with interns and
constituents, like family snapshots
in a study, are displayed
inconspicuously for those who are
interested enough to examine
them. They are not forced upon
every visitor like the omnipotent
portraits of Senators and
Representatives that usually
dominate their lobbies. I had
interned for Levin a full week
before I even noticed them.
Most sections of the office are
separated only by Less Nessman
style invisible walls or eye level
partitions, reflecting Levin's
nothing-to-hide attitude - and
limited office space.
While C-SPAN reverberates
throughout most Congressional
offices, making one wonder if
legislation occurs via television, in
Levin's office one can also
occasionally hear, "Come on down,
you're the next contestant on The
Price is Righ..." Levin's office
manages to mix a bit of the "real"
DOWNTOWN
Close to campus
$35/40 nightly
630 N. Main Street
Ann Arbor
(313)996-3130

world in with Washington
surrealism.
Consistent with Levin's respect
for individuality, there were more
than a few eccentric characters
populating the office. It wasn't
dominated by the upwardly
mobile, faceless, white, Protestant
males who tend to staff the Capitol
buildings. Washington Radio and
Press intern Shayn Furrow said that
Levin's office had the largest
concentration of minorities in high
positions that she had seen
anywhere on the Hill.
While Levin is clearly the focus
of the office, he is in many ways
just another employee.
"He's just a more-than-average
citizen who does a good job," said
intern Joel Davidson, who
graduated from Michigan last year.
"He's schlumpy," said LSA
senior and intern Rachel
Rubenfaer.
In fact, Levin is dishevelled
enough to prompt his office
manager to chase after him,
straightening his tie and reminding
him to wear shoes.
Feet propped on his desk and
munching on Chips Ahoy during
an intern luncheon, Levin
described his approach to
government: he does what he
believes is best for Michigan. Don't
like it? Don't reelect him. Simple.
Constituents can write, call, wine
and dine him, but they are not
likely to change his voting.
"He doesn't read a lot of
constituent mail," said Davidson.
Although there are quite a few
people whose jobs consist entirely
of handling the mail, Levin isn't
one of them. He insists that letters
be answered quickly and that a
record be kept of all responses, but
he doesn't seem to take much
interest in their content.

He said that although he enjoys
his job in the Senate, he will not
compromise his values to ensure
reelection.
"I'm happy in public office
because I would be happy out of
public office," he explained. After
all, Levin's desire to effect social
change was the key impetus to his
political career. His ascent to the
Senate was spurred more by the '67
Detroit riots and the Peace Corps
losing his application than by
childhood dreams of political fame.
Levin was bom in Detroit on
June 28, 1934. After earning
degrees from Central High School,
Swarthmore College and Harvard
University Law School, he served
as Michigan assistant attorney
general and the first general
counsel for the Michigan Civil
Rights Commission before working
for the Defender's Office in
Detroit. In 1%9, he was elected to
the Detroit City Council. He was
reelected as president of the
Council in 1973. In 1978, he was
elected to United States Senate,
and he has been there ever since.
He married Barbara Halpern in
1%1, and they now have three
daughters: Kate, Laura, and Erica.
His brother Sander has served as
representative for the Seventeenth
CongressionaldDistrict since 1983.
Levin's laid-back attitude is
evident even in his language.
When staffers or interns write for
him, he frequently requires them
to edit their wording to a childlike
simplicity. He's a man who is
proudly quoted as saying that a
piece of legislation has more holes
than Swiss cheese.
While Levin generally seems
like an amiable fellow, he's not a
pushover. After attending a
committee hearing at which the
Senator was questioning a witness,

We had the same conversa-
tion dozens of times over the
summer. One of us would be
talking to someone, and mention
that he was writing a food column
for the Daily. The immediate
response would be "Oh, so what
restaurants are you going to write
about?" or "Can you get me free
food?"
People are hung up on the
idea that writing about food is
limited to going to a restaurant
and using as many big words as
you can think of to describe the
menu.
But really, how many times
can the Daily review a restaurant?
There are only so many restau-
rants in the area, and hearing

121
ARv DIeo(x,
Andrew Levy " Daniel Poux

1 T DI " "1!-

'I

17-

'p

the lunch menu at Markley, we're
going to explore how students can
eat cheaper and better lunches -
and avoid the lines in the MUG
- by brown bagging it.
Look for other columns on
Ann Arbor's best-kept food
shopping secrets, high-energy
snacks for your marathon study
sessions, and how to stir-fry your
way into the hearts of your
housemates. Our column will
clirxax with a campus-wide recipe
contest, with a big, big prize for
the most creative and palate-
pleasing dishes. Stay tuned for
details.
Let's face it: college is a time
to broaden your horizons. Students
should be experimenting with all
aspects of life. This experimenta-
tion is not limited to the classroom
or the campus; it carries over into
the kitchen:as well.
Ms Van Horne said it best:
"Cooking is like love. It should be
entered intowith abandon or not
at all." Just because Mom or Dad
never made food that way doesn't
mean that it won't be good, or
even great, Some of our best meals
have been the product of one cup
of desperation, and a heaping
tablespoon of ingenuity. Oh, yeah,

mil
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me
us
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yo'
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un
cui

prowess in the kitchen. Let's face
it; the four food groups for college

"Food is like love. It should be entered
into with abandon, or not at all."
-Harriet Van Home, Vogue, October 15, 1956

some of that knowledge on to you,
the reader, in an interesting and
easy-to-understand format. In
three years of college life, he has
discovered some techniques that,
while they may not be employed
in the kitchens of finer restau-
rants, have worked quite well for
him. We plan to pass on some of
these secrets in the hopes that you
may learn something as well, and
pass these ideas along to others, to
enhance our collective culinary
consciousness.
Andrew, on the other hand
- well, let's just say he's not the
portrait of physical fitness. He

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an intern decided that Levin has
such light cafeteria requests -
iceberg lettuce lightly sprinkled
with sliced turkey and diet
thousand island everyday at 11:45
a.m. - because he eats witnesses
for breakfast.
Despite his down-to-earth
image, Levin maintains a
politician's edge, that certain
something like the makeup they
wear on TV that signals they're just
not 100 percent real.
For instance, although he
opposed the Persian Gulf War,
Levin opened his remarks to
Schwarzkopf at a post-war Senate
committee hearing by
congratulating him on a
professional job.
One has to wonder at Levin's
parting gift ritual for staff members.
He grabs the first book he sees on
his shelf and inscribes it to that
person. While wiping dust off the
cover, discerning the title, and
trying to remember the recipient's
name, he offers the book as a gift to
be cherished. One departing
legislative assistant received a
photo journal of every Chabad

house in the United States, perfect
for any coffee table.
Regardless of Levin's own
capacity for bullshit, he does not
appreciate it in others. He was
impressed more by an intern who
spoke honestly of her uncertainty
about future plans than one who, in
sarcastic anticipation of a job offer,
said that his short-term goal was to
be a legislative correspondent
position in Levin's office.
Most members of Levin's staff
speak highly of their boss. But
interns, who have more room for
honesty, sometimes provide
another view.
"We do things for him. We
don't get paid. At least we should
get a hello. He's a busy man, but
he should know my name is
Rachel," said Rubenfaer.
Thinking he was passing
through a room of visitors, Carl
once inquired, "So, who do we
have here?"
"These are your interns," said
Legislative Director Chuck Cutolo.
Please turn to page 10

about Zingerman's "delectable
deli fare" with "palatable pas-
trami" served over "luscious
lettuce" year after year becomes
tiresome.
Restaurants have been done.
Over and over... and over.
So, we vowed never to
review restaurants.
And why should we?
When we decided to do a
food column, we quickly realized
there was so much more that could
be contained under the nebulous
banner of "food writing," and that
those ambitious readers of the
Daily that made it this far through
the pages of Weekend deserve
more. So we spent the summer
talking with students, professional
food writers, and each other, to
come up with column ideas that
touched on some issues relating to
the one of the human body's most
important necessities: food.
If you think about it, there is
nothing that human beings do
more often throughout the day,
and throughout their lives, than
eat. And no matter what petty
issues students concern them-
selves with - statistics classes,
sex, or the "No Guns, No Cops,
No Code" movement - the
phrase "Geez, I'm starving! What
do I have in the fridge?" keeps
popping into your heads. That's
where we come in.
Much of the "how-to-eat-
healthy" hype is fine in theory,
but strict dietary guidelines are
virtually impossible to follow for
students short on time, money and

students can be neatly summa-
rized as follows: fast, easy, cheap,
and good. With that in mind, we
can proceed.
We are not going to waste
your time with pompous
preachings about the dangers of
cholesterol, or waste precious
column inches on cutesy recipes
for peach cobbler. This is going to
be a food column by college
students, for college students.
Each week we will try to deal with
some pressing concerns about how
to meet those four collegiate food
groups, and give you some ideas
for meals that are fast, easy, cheap
and good - both good tasting and
good for you.
Dan was lucky enough to
grow up in a household with

01

shares the problem that many of
you deal with every day - how to
cope with a world where medical
research is making it less and less
appealing to eat pizza for lunch
and dinner, and cold pizza for
breakfast. He has picked up some
interesting ideas for how to eat the
food you love, while trying to keep
that cholesterol count below 200.
We will share so of those with you
as well.
To many people, a refrigera-
tor is a good place to keep beer
cold. To others, especially those
living in residence halls, a refrig-
erator is a fleeting mlemory of a
time when life was simpler and
Mommy and Daddy paid the
grocery bill. If you have a refrig-
erator and use it for storing food,
you can make great strides toward
eating good, cheap, healthy food.
Even in a residence hall.
And that's not to say that
you can't order out for food. But
we'll attempt to clear up the
difference between a large pizza
with pepperoni and salami, and a
turkey chipati.
Instead of giving you an
entree-by-entree description of

and one package of ramen
noodles.
If you look at one of our
recipes and realize a different or
better way of doing it, or some

Let's face it: college is a time to broaden your horizons.
Students should be experimenting with all aspects of life.
This experimentation is not limited to the classroom or the
campus; it carries over into the kitchen as well.

sub
ex(
kn
exi
we
id<
us
on
ou
ou
kn
the
M"
of
Bu
go
for

*FAST

*EASY

*CHEAP

Stir frying: basic techniques and a fem
quick healthy meal that will impress ti
love.
Brown baggin' It beat the lunchPush
The new four food groups: radicali
about?
Crunch time snacks: healthy altema
all-nighters. Carbos versus caffeine.
Fast food packaging: an In-depth ex
local take out joints.
Cut down on the meat, eat better a
lasagna with no-cook noodles.
Thanksgiving: how to throw the bloc
friends. Recipes for the basics; stuffin
pie and turkey in a bag.

I *GOOD
parents who knew enough about
cooking and nutrition to provide
him with great meals and a good
understanding of how good foods
can go together. We hope to pass

/ a' mac '
rte.

September 13, 1991

WEEKEND

Page 4

Page 9

WEEKEND

Septem

, 1 .

1 t

,,au r. _

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