Image via Africa Studio/Shutterstock.

PHILADELPHIA—What is more American than eating a weiner with ketchup? Other than becoming intimate with a Founding Father, nothing.

It’s hard to find food that isn’t terrible to eat when you’re at a convention like the DNC, but I care about my body, my palate, and my country. So, over the last week, I made it my mission to eat as patriotically as possible. I succeeded, if you consider succeeding being unable to poo. Here are my reviews.

*Note: All rankings on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being best.

Monday, July 25

Breakfast: A few pieces of Turkey jerky

Notes: I bought these in a Brooklyn Duane Reade and brought them to Philadelphia because I thought convention reporting would be like Man vs. Wild. I wasn’t totally wrong.
Taste: 6
Mouth-feel: 4
Patriotism: 8
Overall: 6

Lunch: Romaine and Kale Caesar Salad with Chicken from Panera

Notes: I found a long black hair wrapped around a piece of chicken very early on, and had to throw the whole thing away.
Taste: 4
Mouth-feel: 0
Patriotism: 0
Overall: 1

Dinner: Meatballs; One bite of macaroni and cheese; One bite of something that turned out to be tuna casserole; Half a soft pretzel; One glass of white wine.

Notes: I ate this at the Philly GOP’s DNC party, which is why it is so insane.
Taste: 6
Mouth-feel: 2
Patriotism: 10
Overall: 5

Tuesday, July 26

Breakfast: Egg white, turkey sausage, spinach sandwich from Panera

Notes: Why did I go back to Panera after the hair incident? Because it was right next to the convention center and I am a sucker for convenience even if I risked being too traumatized to ever eat again!
Taste: 6
Mouth-feel: 6
Patriotism: 4
Overall: 5

Lunch: Tuna Melt from Munchie’s Café

Notes: I ate this in a sweaty, hypoglycemic haze after reporting on the Westboro Baptist Church protest. This restaurant was solidly not in DNC territory which was refreshing and helped me remember that there was a world outside.
Taste: 7
Mouth-feel: 6
Patriotism: 7
Overall: 6.75

Dinner: One bite of pasta, half a cheesesteak slider, two wines at an Emerge America reception. Two pieces of prosciutto, one piece of cheese, red peppers, several cornichons, one Gin and Tonic at Planned Parenthood Votes’ Sex, Politics & Cocktails party.

Notes: This was my attempt at surviving on party food. I don’t think it worked since I ended the night solidly nauseous.
Taste: 8
Mouth-feel: 8
Patriotism: 4 (too European)
Overall: 7

Wednesday, July 27

Breakfast: Coffee at a Democrats for Life America event

Notes: I would have preferred not to eat at an event I was covering, but I left a little late for this and hadn’t eaten anything and was going to faint.
Taste: 5
Mouth-feel: 5 (it’s liquid coffee)
Patriotism: 8 (from a DoubleTree hotel)
Overall: 6

Lunch: Taco salad from La Cantina, Reading Terminal Market

Notes: I was told Reading Terminal Market is a Philadelphia “thing to do,” and I agree: It was something fun to do. It was right across the street from the convention center and had what seemed like infinite options. I chose Mexican food because they had salads and I felt lost and I was there when I gave up.
Taste: 8
Mouth-feel: 7
Patriotism: According to Democrats, 10; According to Donald Trump, 10.
Overall: 8.5

Dinner: Chicken Tenders, one beer at Xfinity Grill

Notes: Xfinity Grill was a sports bar kind of set up inside the Wells Fargo Arena perimeter, but instead of sports, they broadcast all the speeches on huge screens. A friend and I tried to sit at a large booth and were kicked out, but two older men who tried the same thing were not kicked out, so the Xfinity Grill is on my shit list.
Taste: 6
Mouth-feel: 6
Patriotism: 9
Overall: 7.5

Thursday, July 28

Breakfast: Egg sandwich from Smucker’s in Reading Terminal Market, iced coffee

Notes: A very small Amish boy with a bowl cut took my order (this is a “Pennsylvania Dutch” stall). My order number was 69, which was cool.
Taste: 7
Mouth-feel: 6
Patriotism: 7
Overall: 7

Lunch: I had none

Dinner: Hot dog from arena stall, four Twizzlers

Notes: This was a good hot dog. I put ketchup on it.
Taste: 10
Mouth-feel: 10
Patriotism: 10
Overall: 10


My skin is grey, my face is bloated, I don’t remember what it feels like to have regular digestion, but one thing’s for sure: I am leaving Philadelphia nourished by the strength of our democracy.