Buckley’s Best

Ten months after the death of William F. Buckley, The New York Times remembers the conservative thinker’s predilection for the creamy (or is it chunky?) and oh-so-populist treat:

The staff would circulate with the peanut butter canapés he loved so well and, to wash them down, a tray of Veuve Clicquot.


The stale self-righteousness that attaches to a certain brand of modern-day conservative was not for Mr. Buckley, a man, who — with his love of yachting, peanut butter and the Constitution — understood that the art of politics did not preclude the act of having fun.


The dining room was the inner sanctum of his entertaining empire, a place where Mr. Buckley might indulge in food, wine, comradeship and conversation, usually all at once. It was there that 160 of his closest friends and colleagues gathered on June 18 for an evening of memorial celebration, billed in the guest book as “One Last Time.”

“Quite a pleasant occasion,” Mr. Holmes recalled with the palest little tremor of a sigh. “Everybody got a jar of peanut butter.” (That would be Buckley’s Best, the writer’s privately produced eponymous brand.)

It’s too bad that the writer fails to credit Red Wing, the real brand underneath the Buckley label, but it maybe easily overlooked given the opulent surroundings, what with the “green silk walls and the chartreuse sateen leopard-print chairs.”

And, in yet another act of cheeky juxtaposition, the story shares page A30 with a tale of poor families partaking in a decidedly upscale delicacy: pheasant.

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Katia Bachko is on staff at The New Yorker.