Desperation makes a man do crazy things—or eat ravenous amounts of food, as the case may be. John Kasich, the Ohio governor and Republican presidential candidate, committed the ultimate New York faux pas (yes, we have one) last week: He ate a slice of pizza with a knife and fork. In Queens, no less.
That's kind of the worst thing a politician can do in New York City, and Kasich was served up a plateful of va fangul after the fact, which led him to state the following on Good Morning America: "The pizza came scalding hot, and so I used a little fork."
But mea culpas on morning television only go so far. Just yesterday, Kasich decided to put his money where his mouth is. And what that means, at least in Kasich's case, is this: Eating an ungodly amount of Italian food during a trip to the Bronx.
The candidate's trip through the Bronx, in anticipation of the New York primary election on April 19, included a visit to that borough's venerable Arthur Avenue, an area of Italian restaurants, gelaterias, old-school butchers, and pizza joints. Basically, it's ground zero for red-sauce Italian. There Kasich spent some quality time at Mike's Deli, and he really wanted to show that he was enjoying the food. Like, really really.
Kasich sat before a spread that might have given even the most hardcore nonna a case of agita. Antipasti, hero sandwiches, and salumi were piled high as onlookers gawked. He downed one plate of spaghetti. Then he ate another. He gobbled up at least part of a Yankee Stadium Big Boy Hero, which was stuffed with mortadella, ham, salami, capicolo, mozzarella, lettuce, and peppers. He also indulged in the eponymous JK Hero, made up of salami, pepperoni, provolone, pepperoncini, pickles, and creamy Italian dressing. Still feeling somewhat puckish, Kasich then ordered pasta fagioli. There was also some fresh mozzarella and prosciutto involved. And homemade wine.
Kasich liked the spaghetti Bolognese so much that he stopped the waiters from taking it away from him. With his mouth half full, Kasich said, with the conviction one would expect a candidate to reserve for discussions of immigration or tax reform, "If I lived here, I would be here every day." Wiping his mouth with a napkin, he added for emphasis: "Every day."
Kasich was not going to let New Yorkers think he couldn't hang with the homies. He may be a little wimpy when it comes to a hot slice, but so what? When it comes to spaghetti Bolognese and a side of several hero sandwiches—fuhgettaboutit.