Barack Obama told a child at the White House recently that his favorite food is broccoli. That can't be true. Broccoli is no one's favorite food.
If there ever was a time for the chief executive to be dishonest, this might have been it: When asked at a White House event for children who had won a healthy recipe contest what his favorite food is, President Obama replied: "Broccoli."
Broccoli is no one's favorite food unless it's covered in cheese, in which case "cheese" is really your favorite food. It's not particularly flavorful, even for a vegetable. Again, even among its kin, it's kind of dull. Most critically: it triggers exactly zero of the caveman-era pleasure centers in our brain, contributing no rare and precious fat, or sugar, or salt. Ask a vegan about his or her favorite food and you'd get a more plausible answer than "broccoli." Naturally, Twitter has gone absolutely bananas with tart skepticism.
That said, the president is a politician and a member of government, both positions that make the dispensing of absolute truth difficult, if not an outright liability. And it's plain to see the advantages of praising broccoli, particularly in these circumstances: Had he given any of the far, far more believable answers of "a Five Guys hamburger," or "chicken-fried steak," or "kringle," he'd be breaking the hearts of healthy recipe-concocting kids everywhere, not to mention undermining the First Lady's work to cultivate healthier eating habits among Americans everywhere.
More plausible but still productively dishonest answers might have included: