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NYC

Feature

February 17, 2021
Let’s Overanalyze Andrew Yang’s Instagram Meals
NYC mayoral candidates - they’re just like us!

With the Democratic primary just four months away, the New York City mayoral race is in full swing. If you haven’t been paying attention, there are enough candidates to play a nine-inning baseball game, relief pitchers and all. You’ve probably never heard of some of them (like Carlos Menchaca, who you should get to know). Others are high-profile New Yorkers like City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Brooklyn Borough president Eric Adams, civil rights lawyer and MSNBC pundit Maya Wiley, former executive at Citigroup Ray McGuire, and construction mogul and Real Housewives veteran Barbara Kavovit.

And then, there’s the one guy even our grandma in West Palm Beach knows: Andrew Yang. Recent polls show Yang leading substantially, in large part because of household name recognition from his presidential run. As of Monday, February 15th, he’s already reached 11,000 individual donors — meaning he’ll receive 2 million dollars in public matching funds from the city.

Spend any amount of time with Yang’s campaign, and you’ll realize he’s trying to be New York City’s Food & Drink Mayor. He posts videos and pictures of himself looking longingly at closed restaurants in Hell’s Kitchen, advocating for street vendor legislation changes, asking if Shake Shack counts as a NY restaurant on Twitter, and buying bottles of iced green tea in bodegas (which garnered some bracing Twitter feedback questioning his understanding of the definition of a bodega). On a policy-level, Yang is promising a Vacancy Tax that penalizes landlords for leaving retail locations empty. He uses his Instagram page to amplify local relief organizations like Welcome To Chinatown, and encourages New Yorkers to support Black-owned businesses.

Despite all of his campaign efforts, nothing erases the fact that he once famously said that Kind Bars were his comfort food. Which brings us to our central questions: What does Andrew Yang actually eat? What do his meals tell us about him as a person, and as the potential leader of our city? We took to Instagram to find out.

THE ANALYSIS

The Regular Guy Lunch From Empanada Mama

Here we see the Regular Guy lunch - a filling, sub $20, one-plate takeout meal from an undisclosed location of Empanada Mama. The kind of thing that makes you think, “That’s nice. I would like to eat that.” Thus indicating that Andrew Yang is a Regular Guy Who Likes Empanada Mama Just Like Us.

That’s all well and good, but our next question remains unanswered. Did he really go to Empanada Mama without ordering the restaurant’s titular empanada (of which there are 25 varieties)? Did he order one without showing it? If so, which one did he get? Is this reckless behavior? It is subversive? Is it totally fine and we’re just being nitpicky?

From a food photography perspective, this is some of his finest work. We’d stop scrolling without even spotting the Instagram handle. It’s polished, but not too polished with bright, bold colors. You can even spot the wrinkles on the peas. We’d be remiss not to mention the cool blue glow of this picture, reminiscent of the Buenos Aires Instagram filter. Let the record show that Andrew Yang posts using Buenos Aires.

Okay, we admit we’ve been staring at this photo for an hour. But inspect each grain of yellow rice, and you too will understand there’s a more complicated political message at play in this post. Like playing a record backwards or listening to your aunt who was obsessed with JFK.

At first glance, you might not immediately hear Yang’s cry to convince voters he’s committed to working long hours. But he’s posting this restaurant for a reason - Empanada Mama is famous for being open 24 hours a day. Even though this Colombian mini-chain is only open from 8am to 5pm right now, they cater their menu to every single time of day (you can order everything from a BEC empanada to a dessert empanada filled with Belgian chocolate and bananas). Yang’s caption is about losing track of time - not in a “I’m so chill” way, rather as proof of his unrelenting work ethic. WE SEE WHAT YOU’RE DOING, ANDREW YANG. WE HEAR YOUR HARD-WORKING CRIES.

A Sex-Driven English Muffin Snack

This is a chaotic, sexually-charged image. Let us explain.

We have to assume Yang’s “crush” who made this snack for him is his wife Evelyn. Although not specifying is as close to winky-face-coyness as he gets on Instagram. Kinda hot, in a curious way.

Yang often shows his wife and his family on his feed (he posted an anniversary picture of him and his wife celebrating with hot pot from Shabu Tatsu in the East Village), but notably didn’t post anything romantic on Valentine’s Day this year. So this February 6th post is the closest acknowledgment of his relationship.

But take away the caption, and we’d guess this plate was something your mom made you after school. So where does that leave us? Is this simply a sweet gesture between lovers? Does Andrew Yang eat like an eight-year-old as a relatability ploy? Is this self-infantilizing?

In any case, we’re genuinely relieved to see the toast marks on the English muffin halves. (Only masochists eat them untoasted.) The nut butter looks to be of the almond variety. A more expensive alternative to peanut butter. A higher class of nut. Like we said, this is a photo about sex.

There’s something revealing about the contrasting energies in this snack preparation. On the one hand, the apple slices are evenly distributed to each muffin half, indicating organization and fairness. And yet, its plating is completely candid. You can see the toast dust on the left-hand side of the plate, and the extra apples on the side as to not to waste any of the produce. You can tell by the tiny flaps sticking out at the top of the slices that whoever made this likely used an apple corer. It’s quick, it’s convenient, it’s a tool in a well-stocked kitchen.

Thanksgiving Vertical Turkey Leg

Reader, when was the last time you ate a poultry extremity like this? We can’t help but be reminded of this fleeting yet iconic moment from My Cousin Vinny.

The vertical bite pose may just be that - a pose. (Especially since there are clear bite marks on the side of the turkey leg.) But it still begs the question, does Andrew Yang eat turkey from the top of the leg?

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