Debunking mainstream media: The food

Yesterday Ruth Gledhill wrote another breathless column about the goings-on of the Lambeth Conference. In the absence of tabloid-worthy news, it must be created ex nihilo. At one point, she mentions “Rutherford College where the bishops are now enjoying one of their thrice-daily three-course meals.”

Well, not exactly. We’re talking about dorm food. The bishops line up (or “queue”) with plastic trays. They get their food, cafeteria style, featuring what you’d expect in a nice college residential food service. I don’t think you can fairly describe a plastic tray full of food as a “three course meal.” Particularly at breakfast, this description becomes a real stretch.

For the sake of research (because I care about you, dear reader) I abandoned the staff dining room for dinner yesterday. I wanted to photograph one of the Gledhill three-course meals. This is what I ate:

\"Three-course\" meal

It was nutritious and tasty. But it was not the luxuriant extravagance that you might expect from sensationalist prose. If meals are magnified and distorted, can you trust what the media are telling you about the whole Conference? Probably not.

What’s happening here is relational. It is not sensational. That’s tough for media people, who have to justify their (ahem, Ruth) expense-account trips, complete with nice rental cottages with swimming pools. You won’t get to go on more trips if there’s no news, right?

Here’s my summary of what’s going on: bishops are forming new bonds of affection and fellowship. People are renewing their relationships with Jesus Christ.

If you insist on covering the food, I’ll add this: We’re enjoying some good food. It’s fine by European and North American standards. I’m sure it’s much better than what many bishops usually get to eat. Now THAT would be a story. But since it’s money and poverty (not sex), I don’t expect to see any newspapers scrambling to cover it.

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5 Responses

  1. Scott says:

    I’m thinking Ruth’s usage of “three courses” is the British one (naturally), which would describe what’s in your photo: a main course, a side, and a pudding (dessert).

    We Americans tend to hear “three courses” and think of separately served, rather formal movements of a dinner-party sonata. Or something.

    So a chicken dish, a salad, and a slice of pie would be three courses, and a perfectly reasonable, not extravagant, lunch.

  2. Peter Mayer says:

    Isn’t it what comes out of you that makes you unclean? And what if you skipped the salad for another piece of cake? Would that be a two-course meal?

  3. BillyDinPVD says:

    Potatoes and rice on the same plate?

  4. Scott says:

    >Potatoes and rice on the same plate?<

    Well, there’s a roll on the side to balance things out. 🙂

    Starch is lovely.

  5. Scott Gunn says:

    Scott, I consulted with a couple of English people (who are well-versed in such things). They do not share your reading, and they believe Ruth Gledhill has described something other than this kind of all-at-once meal.

    Peter, I have no comment.

    BillyDin, yes. The potatoes were probably intended as sides for another entree. I did not care for the other sides, so I got a double dose of starch. Either way, it’s not a three-course meal.

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