There’s a special type of childhood disappointment in arriving at a rich person’s doorstep on Halloween only to receive a miniature candy bar. I imagine that whoever shows up for an evening at the Oz family home is similarly let down when they lay eyes on the platter of crudités.
The campaign for Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Republican candidate for one of Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seats, posted a video back in April of Oz allegedly shopping for his wife, who, we are told, wanted him to pick up some vegetables for crudités. The point of the video was to blame President Joe Biden for the rising cost of groceries. Instead, his opponent, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, resurfaced the video on Monday to drive home just how out of touch (and out of state) Oz is.
Fetterman’s campaign has worked hard to point out that Oz has a limited understanding of Pennsylvania, alleging that the TV personality only moved there from New Jersey in 2020 in order to run for office. But after watching this video, we’re not sure he’s spent much time in any grocery store, regardless of which state he’s in.
“Thought I’d do some grocery shopping at my Wegner’s,” says Oz at the beginning of the video. Wegner’s is, in fact, a grocery store that does not exist. He has seemingly conflated the names of two Pennsylvania supermarkets, Redner’s and Wegmans—spoken like a true man of the people who has perhaps only seen these names blur past him as he rides in the back seat of a luxury vehicle.
Twitter quickly determined Oz was at Redner’s, so I listened to the start of the video again, just to check if I misheard; maybe it was a Yanny vs. Laurel moment. Nope. He definitely created a grocery store mashup. A Piggly-Dixie. A Safelix. An Aldway.
The Fetterman campaign brought the video to Twitter’s attention largely to underscore Oz’s out-of-touch fanciness, tweeting, “In PA we call this a... veggie tray.” (The joke has made its way onto official campaign merch, too.)
If your goal is to come across as relatable to the average Pennsylvania Joe, you probably should call it either a veggie tray or relish tray. And if you’re referring to a platter of raw veggies and dip as crudités, it’s unlikely that inflation (and its resultant price increases) is causing you to stand slack-jawed in the middle of a Wegner’s, wondering how much you’ll have to transfer from your overseas accounts to afford the high cost of premade guacamole.
Terminology aside, I’m not convinced the Oz family has ever made a crudités platter before. If you’ve been to any social affair, you’ve probably come across at least a few sectioned serving platters. These offer a handy guide to ensure you’re apportioning an equal amount of each item for your guests. But if you’re a fan of broccoli, you’d better arrive at the Oz estate early.
In the video, the esteemed television doctor grabs exactly one crown of broccoli, one bundle of asparagus, and a five-pound bag of carrots. Is this his health care plan for the state of Pennsylvania? His lopsided selections seem to pose the question: Why expand Medicare to cover vision when there are all these carrots available?
I consider myself something of a dip guru. I’ve organized entire parties around wanting to make and serve particular dips. Sometimes (often) that’s all I’ll make myself for dinner. So when we got to the dip portion of Oz’s grocery store saga, I nearly blacked out.
I was willing to turn a blind eye to the guacamole. Sure, homemade guac is always significantly better, but maybe the Oz clan had a busy day of grooming their horses or playing water polo and didn’t have time to mash a few avocados at a fraction of the price. Go ahead, cut a few corners—party-planning can be exhausting! Still, it’s a slightly odd choice for a veggie tray. Not everyone wants to dip their vegetables in more vegetables. But then Oz reaches for the salsa.
Thank god this man’s PhD is not in physics, because the very concept of liquids and solids clearly eludes him. Picture Oz in his kitchen at 3 a.m., hours after his staff has gone home, trying to understand why the little chunks of tomato and onion keep sliding off his asparagus spear. “Six dollars!” he laments, all of it gone to waste.
“Guys, that’s $20 for crudités, and this doesn’t include the tequila,” says Oz near the end of the video, holding all the dubious ingredients for his Tex-Mex veggie tray. The tequila? I screamed!
If you are headed to this man’s house for a party, prepare to get absolutely trashed, because this is a crudités sampler for the likes of Lucille Bluth. Enjoy a limited array of watery vegetables as you knock back shots and complain about inflation.
But even if Dr. Oz had built a good veggie tray from his Wegner’s run—a platter with a full range of produce, plus a cream-based dip and maybe some hummus, let’s say—he still shouldn’t go toe-to-toe with a candidate like Fetterman, at least not where food is concerned. A guy who declares his love for Tastykake Chocolate Cupkakes isn’t going to mispronounce the name of a major Pennsylvania grocery chain. Hell, Fetterman even knows to slyly turn the PA-based Heinz ketchup label toward the camera when posting on social.