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May 28, 2008

Java and Jihad?

Like many foodies, I'm not a fan of Rachael Ray. I admit she has a few decent recipes on her website, but the catchphrases such as "yum-o" and EVOO really annoy me. And some of her recipes sound totally gross: I enjoy hot dogs, but do they belong in a salad? And pizza cobbler? Blech.

But even though I find her annoying, I'm pretty sure that the gal is neither a terrorist, nor a terrorist sympathizer. I make this seemingly out-of-the-blue statement because Dunkin' Donuts recently pulled an ad starring the perky spokeswoman after right-wing pundits pointed out that the scarf she is wearing bears a resemblance to a keffiyeh, a piece of cloth often worn as a headdress in Arab nations. (Read more about it here).

The fabric wrapped around Ray's neck in the commercial features a black and white print, which critics say is reminiscent of Yasser Arafat's preferred keffiyeh styling. Conservative Fox News commentator Michelle Malkin notes that other famous folk -- including Colin Farrell, Kanye West and our very own Howard Dean -- have been seen with similar scarves (Dean's wrap actually resembles a keffiyeh much more than Rachael's scarf does), which Malkin compares to wearing "klan-style hoods."   

I'm not sure that the comparison is apt, given that people in cultures all over the world wear scarves, shawls and headdress of various colors and patterns, but I don't believe that there are any modern day cultural/ethnic groups unaffiliated with the KKK who wear pointed hoods with face masks that include eye-hole cutouts. Thus, I think it much more likely that somebody could innocently wear a keffiyeh-like scarf with no political motivations, while I think that is extremely unlikely in the case of the hood. Anyway...

After DD nixed the online ad, they released a statement saying that the black-and-white silk, paisley print scarf was purchased at a US retail store, and was in no way intended as a political statement.

While we're on the topic of the marriage of Rachael and Dunkin', this tidbit calls the veracity of her endorsement into question: In January, NY Magazine's website reported that Rachael Ray doesn't even like DD's hot stuff. After sipping some DD coffee, Ray reportedly shouted, "What is this shit? Get me my coffee." Her coffee, apparently, is Starbucks. Which is funny, because in the a press release about her deal with the donut co., Rachael gushed, "Having grown up in the Northeast, I have a long-standing and deep appreciation for Dunkin' Donuts' coffee." Hah.

According to that same press release, the company's brand president, Robert Rodriguez, had this to say about Ray: "We believe there is tremendous synergy between Dunkin' Donuts and Rachael Ray. Rachael's philosophy of creating quality meals quickly and without pretense for busy people living busy lives is the same driving force behind the Dunkin' Donuts brand." [Emphasis mine].

Right. Because in my book, a quality meal typically consists of a Boston creme donut and a vanilla bean "coolatta." Or maybe he's talking about the "nutritious" breakfast sandwiches, like the bacon egg cheese croissant version that derives more than half of its calories from fat and includes margarine, corn syrup solids, artificial flavors and "egg patty" on its list of ingredients. Deelish!

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Meridith Levinson

I dugg this blog entry. Digg it yourself here and help drive traffic to the Omnivore blog.

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