While House Republicans wept openly Thursday at the news that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, has dropped out of the running to be Speaker, Charles Rangel of New York, the most senior Democrat in the House, quietly drank a smoothie.
People on the internet really liked it. They had questions. About shade, and trolling, and back taxes.
But I only had one question: Is that smoothie a good smoothie?
Now getting to the bottom of this question required a degree of speculation. Rangel has a cookbook, and in that cookbook there are recipes for things like microwave scramble eggs and crab cakes. There is also a recipe for Rangel's "signature" tropical smoothie.
He is also on the record as drinking this smoothie with some regularity. "Most days in Congress, I make a smoothie to get my extra serving of fruit," according to The Rangel Resolution Recipe Book. "This is my signature smoothie."
But Rangel's Twitter account did not respond to my request to authenticate the smoothie recipe.
I was left to puzzle this one out on my own. A comparison of Rangel's schadenfreude smoothie tweet and the art from the recipe book suggests that they might be the same smoothie, but images can be deceiving. So I went to the smoothie place down the corner from Fusion's New York office, recipe in hand, and requested they recreate it. (Full disclosure: the banana was not frozen, and, since ginger tea is an unorthodox smoothie ingredient, I came prepared with a cup from a nearby cafe.)
In real life, Rangel's recipe produced a distinctly less….vibrant product. A member of Fusion's taste test team likened the color to, well, watery pink barf. He wasn't wrong.
The color did not bode well for flavor, but we went in with an open mind, ready to appreciate the nuanced spiciness of the (unsweetened) ginger tea, the specific pleasure of five hulled strawberries, the acidity of the pineapple. But, well, it was weak. The flavor just wasn't there. Maybe it was the ice, maybe it was an under-ripe batch of strawberries, but it tasted watery as hell.
"Is it supposed to have ice in it?" one taste tester asked. "I feel like it's more of a slushy than a smoothie."
Another taster nodded his head in agreement: "It's really watery."
Yet another was less restrained in his review: "I really don't like it."
But were we being fair? Could we really know if this is how Rangel prepares his signature smoothies? Was our experiment flawed? "It's not a complete one to one test, because we did not use the exact same blender," someone noted.
"And we are not Charlie Rangel," another of our flavor investigators offered.
But this is a fallen, imperfect world. We make do with what we can. We test the smoothies the best way we know how. The smoothie was a bit thin, and could probably have benefited from another few strawberries and some additional slices of pineapple.
Fusion review: two smiling Pope Francis heads.
UPDATE: It was, in fact, his signature smoothie.