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11 Questions About the Dr. Oz Crudités Video

Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photos: @DrOz/Twitter

It was shaping up to be a slow summer Monday when my colleague shared a widely circulated video of Mehmet Oz, TV doctor turned Republican Senate candidate, shopping for “crudités” at a Pennsylvania grocery store he didn’t seem to know the name of.

The Intelligencer Slack room lit up. Jokes were made. Quick and healthy recipes were shared. People reminisced about their favorite political food controversies. And many questions were asked.

Some of these questions were personal, like “Why were we served so many disgusting steamed veggies as children?” But most focused on the political malpractice of Oz’s video, in which he attempts to score points against his Democratic rival John Fetterman by highlighting inflation but instead draws attention to his not exactly relatable lifestyle.

Here are some of our lingering, possibly unanswerable queries.

Who thought this was relatable?

“Are crudités a big deal in PA or something?” one co-worker asked. It seems the answer is no — it is not a secret Keystone State delicacy. Someone on Dr. Oz’s team just decided that repeating the word was the best way to combat the narrative that he’s a celebrity carpetbagger who actually lives in New Jersey. Do none of the political consultants working on Oz’s campaign remember the time Republicans mercilessly bullied Mitt Romney for merely knowing basic French?

Why are we talking about this now?

Dr. Oz originally posted his inflation lament to Twitter on April 6, but it rocketed around social media on Monday. “Wegners,” where Oz claimed to be shopping, was trending in the U.S. on Monday morning, and “crudite” was a breakout search term on Google. Fetterman, who recently returned to the campaign trail after suffering a stroke in May, tried to capitalize on the tweet’s revival.

Do people even know what “crudités” are?

Fetterman raised a key point. As a person whose go-to daytime programming was once The Martha Stewart Show, I certainly know the fancy term for “veggies and dip.” But a quick poll of my co-workers at New York suggests it may not be common knowledge. “This is the first time I’ve ever heard the word,” revealed one Washington, D.C.–based Intelligencer columnist. So the Oz video manages to alienate not just average Pennsylvania voters but coastal media elites as well.

Did he mispronounce “Wegman’s”?

Yes and no. In the video, Oz clearly says he’s at “Wegners,” which does not appear to exist. Many assumed he was shopping at the popular grocery chain Wegman’s and got the name slightly wrong. But Pennsylvanians on Twitter said he was actually at a Redner’s grocery store. You can see a bit of the Redner’s sign right above Oz’s head, and the same salsa appears on the store’s website.

Why did he get all the prices wrong?

Food prices have definitely been increasing this year, but Oz’s $20 crudités is partially the result of his lack of familiarity with how grocery shopping works. He says a single head of broccoli costs $2, but it actually costs $2 per pound. Then he picks up a massive bag of whole carrots, complaining that they cost $4. Finally, he grabs a tub of salsa and balks at the $5.99 price tag — but that’s actually the price of the neighboring bruschetta. Redner’s salsa is a dollar cheaper.

Does he know about jarred salsa?

Regular grocery shoppers know the fresh-made stuff near the produce is always more expensive. If Oz is really on a budget, he should cruise over to the chips aisle, where he can get some jarred Redner’s salsa for just $2 or splurge on some Tostitos chunky salsa for $3.99.

Do people really eat asparagus raw?

Epicurious says yes, but when Martha Stewart added asparagus to a crudités platter on her daytime show, she said, “I really think it has to be enhanced by blanching.” (Merriam-Webster defines crudites as “pieces of raw vegetables … served as an hors d’oeuvre often with a dip,” but I’m not going to fight with Martha.)

Is he dipping all these veggies in the salsa?

He says his wife “loves salsa,” but does she really love it on broccoli, carrots and asparagus?

Is tequila a traditional crudités pairing?

“Guys, that’s $20 for crudités and this doesn’t include the tequila!” Oz exclaims, as if the French always serve Mexican liquor with their plates of fancy little cut-up veggies.

So he’s serving crudités with tequila shots?

Seems like a missed opportunity to complain about how you can’t even afford mixers in Joe Biden’s America.

Why did he release this video?

One veteran Intelligencer politics writer proclaimed this the “worst Everyman shtick I have ever seen.” Did Oz really think this video would be effective? Was he trying to sabotage his own campaign? It’s a question I’ll be chewing on for some time, much like a salsa-slathered piece of asparagus.

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11 Questions About the Dr. Oz Crudités Video