Food snobs hold a few things to be self-evident.
One, pancakes must be graced with only pure maple syrup and never, ever any of that brown, high-fructose corn syrup goo.
Two, "spreads" are the devil's own lubricants and artisanal bread shall only be slathered with pure, high-fat butter from grass-grazing cattle.
And three, fine beef must only be ordered at medium rare, or with occasional exception, rare. Ketchup may be deployed in the case of a steak frites, but really, isn't hand-whipped aioli the more acceptable condiment?
The internet's food police went predictably batshit yesterday when The Independent Journal Review reported that prez Trump supped on a well-done 28-day dry-aged New York strip steak -- "of course" dipping it in ketchup, Eater chimed in.
I reached out to two of our own most respected local meat-men in town, Lowry Hill Meat's Erik Sather, and Ben Pichler, sous chef at Burch Steak, and both had surprisingly measured responses to the news. Both are men who deal in kingly cuts of beef, the kind served to, well, presidents. One-hundred-twenty day dry-aged ribeyes, certified Japanese Wagyu, tenderloins to set you back a portion of your rent.
But still, they were surprisingly unfazed by Trump's meat-eating choices. Pichler simply said: "We get requests for ketchup at least a few times a week. I don't judge, but when I grill steaks at home I don't put ketchup on the table. I've got one kid that likes steak sauce and one that eats steaks bare."
From Sather: "The meat you buy should be good enough that you don't need ketchup to cover it up." He's in the sustainable meat business, so good meat is truly his business. "Well done may need some moisture to help it slide down," he added. Well, that's where the ketchup comes in.
Both responses reminded me a bit of the diplomatic answer I got when I asked esteemed local sushi chef Hide Tozawa of Kyatchi about the right way to eat sushi. While wasabi and soy sauces are a strong flavor, and they may cover up the delicate flavors of raw fish, he explained, everybody has a different palate and a different preference. In other words, there may be a preferable way, but there is no "right" way.
Eat the way you damn well please. It's your mouth.
And yeah, I'll admit to cringing when someone at the table orders their meat well done, but I cringe in silence.
There's one cardinal rule that we eaters should all hold self-evident, and that is: don't yuck somebody else's yum. No matter how much they may seem to have it coming.