Vozzella: Md. first lady's no-fur stance looks good after mink-tinged city scandal

February 10, 2010|By Laura Vozzella laura.vozzella@baltsun.com

No matter how much snow lands on Maryland, one thing's for sure: Katie O'Malley will face it furless.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals surveyed the nation's first ladies on their outerwear habits and trumpeted the results in a news release Wednesday.

"[A]fter mentioning that first ladies Michelle Obama of the U.S. and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy of France had issued statements that they are fur-free" - no pressure! - "[PETA] simply asked, 'Do you wear fur?' " the release states. "O'Malley was among the first to respond: A representative for the governor's wife stated, 'Our first lady, Katie O'Malley, does not wear fur.' The representative also thanked PETA for its 'hard work.' "

The first ladies of Delaware, Indiana, Maine, Ohio, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin also professed to be fur-free.

"So far, no first lady has declared to PETA that she does wear fur," the release states.

I'm guessing the gals with minks in their closets aren't going to reply.

There are reasons beyond animal-rights issues to refrain from wearing fur in Maryland political circles these days. The mayor of Baltimore just went down, in part, because of a burnt umber mink and Persian lamb.

PETA praised O'Malley for "setting a wonderful example by respecting animals." Maybe her respectable Democratic cloth coat shows some regard for the people, too.

I bounced that off PETA. Dan Mathews, the group's vice president, replied: "When you wear fur, you draw all sorts of bad attention to yourself, whether from animal activists or people struggling to get by - or in Baltimore, they might think you're the ex-mayor."

Your olive oil, sir
A story on sous vide cooking recently took me into the kitchen at The Oceanaire Seafood Room, where a bottle of olive oil caught my eye. It was the size you'd expect to find in a home, not in a restaurant seating 300.

I asked executive chef Benjamin Erjavec about it, and sure enough, there was a story there. Seems the Harbor East restaurant has a customer who once asked for olive oil with his bread instead of butter.

Olive oil was served.

But it wasn't to the customer's liking.

"It's good olive oil," Erjavec assured me. But it was Spanish olive oil. The customer wanted Greek.

Hmm, now who in Harbor East could be Grecophile enough to tell the difference between Greek and Spanish olive oil? Could the name possibly be ... Paterakis?

It was J.R. Paterakis, the H&S Bakery executive whose family developed Harbor East.

Erjavec said he keeps the bottle of Greek olive oil on hand for whenever Paterakis comes in to eat, which is about three times a month.

Oceanaire takes special requests from other customers, like the guy who prefers baked Alaska made with chocolate ice cream over the more exotic flavors often on the menu. But Erjavec, who also keeps a supply of Kalamata olives just for Paterakis, conceded: "Obviously [Paterakis] has a little more clout than the average Joe. ... He is our landlord."

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