Parliamentarians, averse to confronting actual problems, have elected this week to take on the Governor General’s ostensibly appalling spending habits.
Never mind that the engaging Mme. Clarkson’s been dipping into the federal kitty in order to boost Canada around the world instead of sitting, Romeo LeBlanc-style, in a Rideau Hall La-Z-Boy and occasionally signing papers. Never mind that she and John John represent a better face for notre pays than puffy, boring-looking P. Martin ever does or could. Never mind that she’s made head of state actually mean something for the first time in a century: such intimidating dynamism has been rewarded in typical HoC fashion with a move towards cutting her budget from $19.1 million to slightly short of $18.7 million.
The move, having only clipped about two per cent off of the GG’s permitted expenditures, is probably only cosmetic, designed to appeal to the feed salesmen in Badger Rectum, SK, who reject the importance of culture in Canadian foreign policy and national identity. Yet it prompted at least one joyful opposition MP, NDP stalwart Pat Martin, to exclaim that Adrienne will have to “switch brands of caviar” in future.
In view of this grim reality, Torontoist has taken it upon itself to recommend a few new brands of fish roe that the GG might find more… accessible, given her new, more austere conditions.
So where can the Clarkson-Sauls look for fish egg solace? It goes without saying, of course, that Russian wares are out. Even were Russia not proving increasingly unpopular owing to its Yanukovich-love, the GG would be hard-pressed to find enough pennies under the couch cushions to order in any North Caspian sturgeon roe. Seven ounces (about a coffee cup’s worth) of the Russian “Malossol” beluga stuff that critics all but accuse Mme. Clarkson of putting in her coffee currently goes for about $800.
Luckily for the GG, Canada has continued to exercise a more open policy towards Iran than have our god-fearing neighbours to the south, and so we do have access to the next best place to look for quality caviar. Unfortunately, Persian wares can be just as expensive as those harvested by their Caspian sea neighbours. Assuming that Mme. Clarkson was consuming only Russian beluga before the auterity measures kicked in, however, she can expect to half her caviar budget with a switch to Persian ossetra. Seven ounces for about $500 ain’t half bad, and the taste is earthy and complex but not overly muddy or bitter, unlike some caviars we could name. If she wants to dip a little lower into the food chain, Adrienne can also get herself a decent sevruga for about $350 (just don’t goddamn complain if you find sand in it).
If it comes down to the fish eggs or the free flights, Mme. Clarkson is likely going to have to go American. Some might contend that poor caviar is better than no caviar at all, but Torontoist begs to differ. Feeling adventurous, the GG might give seven ounces of California sturgeon roe a try at about $120, but she’d better practice spitting daintily into a napkin at state occasions. As for American varieties like bowfin black (7 oz./$55), let’s just say this: it’s got a cajun name (choupique), dear lady, and if you serve this you and John John might as well don plastic bibs and start shovelling crawdads in.