Presidential Candidates Briefly Immortalized in Hummus
July 1, 2009
NEW YORK—The candidates are the heads of the table—literally. Heads of presidential candidates John McCain, Barack Obama and former candidate Hillary Clinton made of hummus made a show at the 54th Summer Fancy Food Show yesterday along with other products playing up the electoral hype.
Three political rivals sat in unlikely harmony in the back of an aisle flanked on both sides by a medley of different products while Kirk Rademaker, the mind behind the heads, carefully sculpted their faces. Scoop by scoop he places dollops of humus that has slid from place back into its original state, a process Rademaker jokes as a "face lift."
Carved from over 100 pounds of hummus supplied by Sabra Go Mediterranean, a New York company specializing in making dips and spreads, the candidates are true to life as any food product can be. Hillary Clinton has blue M&Ms for eyes while both McCain and Obama sport raisin dotted ones.
A seasoned sand sculptor for the past 10 years, Rademaker was approached by Sabra into producing the three political figures. Sabra wanted to define their brand as "American as these candidates have become" and Rademaker hopped on the wagon.
While working on the project, Rademaker carefully studied the expressions and facial structures of each of the candidates. He then created plaster models to give it a three dimensional feel. Despite the initial preparation, the actual work was more difficult than expected.
"When you work with sand it stays in place," says Rademaker. "But hummus is wet and gooey and it drips all over the place. But it's all fun."
In the process, Rademaker also discovered a swing in political opinion.
"Originally I was for Obama," says Rademaker. "But when I started studying Hillary's features more and more for the sculptures, I kind of developed a liking for her also."
Other exhibitions also put out patriotic themed items as well. Byrd Cookie Co. displayed red and blue state cookie tins while Long Grove Confectionary Company introduced animal chocolate lollipops in shapes of the Republican elephant and Democratic donkey. Drinks by McSteven's Inc featured coffee called Obamaccino and McCain Mocha.
In its 55th run this year, the show featured over 2,400 exhibition booths with specialty foods ranging from culinary giants such as France and Italy to newcomers from the United Arab Emeritus, Panama and Costa Rica. Hundreds of vendors displayed dozens of kinds of cheeses and others lured retailers with enticing displays of rare products such as truffles.
Oganic foods also dominated the exhibition this year, taking up an entire section of the floor.