Here's what you get to look forward to
Fried shrimp on a bed of jasmine rice and a side of mango salad, all served on a styrofoam plate. Bottled water to wash it all down.
These trendy catering treats are unlikely to appear on the menu at parties sponsored by the Denver 2008 Host Committee during the Democratic National Convention this summer.
Fried foods are forbidden at the committee's 22 or so events, as is liquid served in individual plastic containers. Plates must be reusable, like china, recyclable or compostable. The food should be local, organic or both.
And caterers must provide foods in "at least three of the following five colors: red, green, yellow, blue/purple, and white," garnishes not included, according to a Request for Proposals, or RFP, distributed last week.
The shrimp-and-mango ensemble? All it's got is white, brown and orange, so it may not have the nutritional balance that generally comes from a multihued menu.
"Blue could be a challenge," joked Ed Janos, owner of Cook's Fresh Market in Denver. "All I can think of are blueberries."
The national nominating convention Aug. 25-28 will bring about 50,000 people to Denver, and many will scarf loads of chow served at catered parties.
The prospect of that business windfall has tantalized caterers since Denver was named host city for the convention more than a year ago.
Caterers praise the committee and the city for their green ambitions, but some say they're baffled by parts of the RFP.
"I think it's a great idea for our community and our environment. The question is, how practical is it?" asks Nick Agro, the owner of Whirled Peas Catering in Commerce City. "We all want to source locally, but we're in Colorado. The growing season is short. It's dry here. And I question the feasibility of that."
No fried food? No wonder the DNC can't relate to Appalachians and southerners. At least you'll be able to get a real nice helping of arugula at the convention.