Michelle Obama’s chef inspires right-wing recipe

     White House pastry chef Bill Yosses  (Charles Dharapak/AP Photo, file)

    White House pastry chef Bill Yosses (Charles Dharapak/AP Photo, file)

    Ever wonder what it’s like to live inside the conservative cocoon, where facts are tweaked and parsed and distorted for the purpose of providing ideological comfort? Well, today I’ll give you a taste.

    Yesterday, while scanning The Daily Caller, a popular purveyor of coocoonthink, I happened to spy this home-page headline: “BURNED OUT: White House pastry chef exits after tenure with anti-sugar Michelle Obama.” The author of the story ramped it up further on Twitter: “BURNED OUT: White House pastry chef resigns to escape anti-sugar Michelle Obama.”

    Alarm bells must’ve clanged inside the cocoon. What havoc has that tyrannical vixen wrought this time? Here’s The Daily Caller story, in its entirety:

    White House executive pastry chef Bill Yosses is resigning after First Lady Michelle Obama fundamentally changed his job duties to focus on healthier food.

    Yosses is leaving the White House in June to work on a new project focusing on “food literacy” and The New York Times says Michelle is “partly to blame.” The openly gay chef was hired by Laura Bush in 2007 to make his trademark cookie plates and sugar sculptures. Mrs. Obama took over in 2009 and ordered Yosses to make healthier plates in smaller portions.

    Yosses began replacing butter with fruit puree and sugar with honey and agave. But Yosses was never fully committed to the new policy. “I don’t want to demonize cream, butter, sugar and eggs,” Yosses said, noting that his departure from the White House is a “bittersweet decision.”

    Michelle Obama said in a statement that she is “incredibly sad to see Bill Yosses go.”

    “I am also so grateful to him for his outstanding work, not just as the White House pastry chef, producing the most delectable creations for everything from birthday celebrations to state visits, but also as a key partner helping us get the White House kitchen garden off the ground and building a healthier future for our next generation. I wish Bill and his husband, Charlie, all the best in their future endeavors,” Michelle Obama said.

    In other words (at least according to cocoon media), the White House pastry chef is quitting because he can’t abide Michelle’s PC tyranny, because he refuses to follow her lead and demonize the fatty pastry ingredients that we know and love.

    The Daily Caller says it got this hot news from a story in The New York Times. So let’s go to the source, just to ensure that the two versions are harmonious. As if.

    The Times story ran yesterday…and gee, whattayaknow, it just doesn’t seem to jibe with the cocoon version.

    Turns out, chef Bill Yosses wasn’t oppressed by Michelle’s desire for healthy desert; on the contrary, he was inspired. According to The Times, Michelle has so “piqued his interest in the relationship between food and health” that he “is now headed to New York with an aim to teach children and adults about eating better.” Yosses told the paper that he wants to create “a group and foundation of like-minded creative people” for promoting healthy deserts – food literacy from the bottom up, starting in the schools, because, in his words, “Food knowledge should be part of a complete curriculum.”

    Leaving is indeed “a bittersweet decision” (a quote plucked by The Daily Caller), but that’s because Michelle is “definitely an inspiring boss” whose White House garden abounded with new desert ingredients. The Times reports that, while utilizing the garden, “he has chosen from a cornucopia of strawberries, blueberries, rhubarb, figs, papaya, carrots, sweet potatoes and herbs like lemon thyme flowers, lavender and pineapple sage. Nearby is honey from the White House beehives. The result – oatmeal bars, baked apples and pear-quince cobblers, among many others – will have a lasting impact on his eating habits, as will Mrs. Obama.”

    Yosses also has personal reasons for leaving the White House. He and his guy are gay-married, but even though they have been an item for 11 years, they have never lived in the same city. So Yosses is moving to his mate’s home turf in New York. (The Daily Caller story somehow failed to mention Yosses’ personal reasons.)

    But fatty ingredients aren’t completely off the table. Yosses indeed said, “I don’t want to demonize cream, butter, sugar, and eggs” (another quote plucked by The Daily Caller) – but that’s because, in his words, there are still “special nostalgic occasions” at the White House when “traditional deserts” are served. Last Thanksgiving, for instance, Yosses says he made “five or six different pies,” prompting President Obama to dub him “the Crustmaster.”

    So there you have it, the right-wing media recipe in action: Cherry-pick a few quotes, add a dollop of provocative verbiage (Michelle “took over” and “ordered”), plus a soupcon of headline spice (pastry chef “resigns to escape anti-sugar Michelle”), ignore 90 percent of the contextual ingredients – and voila, you too can marinate in cocoonthink!

    Follow me on Twitter, @dickpolman1

     

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.