On Sunday, a very 2018 food-meets-politics scandal hit Instagram. On first glance, it was the ultimate rich people problem: Instagram user @vacayinbae posted a photo from Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida, resort. The image showed a silver platter of caviar, with plastic spoons resting on top.
“I hate to do this,” the Instagram user wrote. “But this is a total #disgrace, #shame on #maralago, you can’t serve caviar with plastic spoons! Please offer your caviar with mother-of-pearl spoons and dishes!”
The user also posted a photo of crackers, noting that the “accompaniments” were “#lowbudget” and “#disgraceful.”
When Bloomberg journalist Anna Massoglia tweeted a screenshot of the Instagram post and pointed out it cost $100,000 per couple to attend the Trump inauguration anniversary, the tweet quickly went viral. Others piled on, pointing out the tarnished silver.
The user later clarified that the photo was taken at the restaurant, “not the event,” presumably referring to the inauguration anniversary fundraiser happening that same weekend.
What’s wrong with serving caviar this way?
Despite what the complaint-filled Instagram post might have you think, plastic spoons aren’t actually the worst way to serve caviar, said one expert. At least the expensive roe wasn’t served with metal.
“The metal you find in a silver spoon will oxidize with the caviar,” Mark Di Frances, the web marketing manager for Petrossian, a French specialty food company, said in a phone interview. “If you are someone with a delicate palate, you will notice the change,” he said, noting the silver can impart a slightly metallic taste.
But Di Frances also condemned using plastic in a fancy setting. “That’s a terrible idea — you make the presentation as elegant as the caviar itself,” he said, noting that Petrossian recommends serving caviar with mother-of-pearl spoons. (A mother-of-pearl spoon costs $15, a Petrossian spokesperson confirmed on the phone.)
Though caviar and plastic spoons go together as well as champagne and Solo Cups, perhaps partygoers should have expected as much from Mar-a-Lago. The Trump Grill in New York City once served a pathetic-looking martini on ice, in a wine glass.
Mic has reached out to Mar-a-Lago for comment and will add any updates.
Correction: Jan. 22, 2018