Food for political thought


Saba Imtiaz June 01, 2010

Even though he was widely dubbed as Mr 10% for most of the 1990s, President Asif Ali Zardari is now reportedly, a man of simple tastes.

According to a report published in The Express Tribune on May 31, Zardari has “a set choice of menu.”

“‘Asif Saheb takes toasted brown bread, a choice of egg with a glass of milk or a fresh juice for breakfast,’ according to an attendant. ‘For meals, he likes simple daal and rice with mixed vegetables.’ In case he has guests over, then special arrangements are made for meat items like chicken roast or fried fish.

Another staff member at Bilawal House said that depending upon his mood, Zardari has a taste for mushroom pizza which is usually ordered from the Marriott Hotel.

He also likes pakoras, which he asks the cook to make on evenings. But of late, this has been discontinued, possibly because of his busy schedule.”

But Zardari is not the only politician who enjoys a well-cooked meal.

In his biography of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, Christopher Sandford wrote, “On a more sedentary note, Imran enjoyed his food, particularly the heavily spicy curries…” and added that Khan often ordered a glass of milk while he was out socialising.

But while President Zardari enjoys a mushroom pizza, his wife, the late Benazir Bhutto, had a self-confessed sweet tooth. In her autobiography, Daughter of the East, Benazir wrote of her time at Radcliffe, “I drank gallons of apple cider, ate unconscionable numbers of peppermint-stick ice-cream cones sprinkled with ‘jimmies’ from Brigham’s ice-cream parlour…”

Her niece, Fatima Bhutto, shares the same penchant for sweets. In her recently published book, Songs of Blood and Sword, Fatima wrote about Benazir: “We liked all the same revolting sweets – mint chocolate chip ice-cream, candied apple skins, and marron glace; I have never, till this day met anyone else who likes the sugared chestnuts.”

About her father, Murtaza Bhutto, Fatima wrote, “He never drank tea or coffee, but he liked Kashmiri chai, a strange drink of coagulated pink tea, flavoured with spices and pistachios.”

While former President Pervez Musharraf was offered a cup of green tea by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, Musharraf’s favourite dessert is reportedly crème brulee.

Pakistan Muslim League (N) leaders Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif’s love for traditional food such as nihari is well-known, and has been mentioned by several columnists including Ardeshir Cowasjee and Kamran Shafi.

COMMENTS (8)

Murtaza Ali Jafri | 11 years ago | Reply Great. They Love their Food. Insightful Reporting. Trying to fill up column inches much?
Humayun M | 11 years ago | Reply Wait.. @Humayun Javed, you're right.. that icecream cup HAS been photoshopped in!
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