News & Politics

Washingtonian Today: Mumbo Slice

Photograph by Evy Mages

About Washingtonian Today

Washingtonian Today is not just another political news roundup. Instead, this daily morning brief provides local context on national news, catches you up on what’s happening at Washingtonian, points you toward super duper awesome things to do around town, and lets you in on some special events going on in-house. Sign up here to receive Washingtonian Today in your inbox every morning.

Good morning, and welcome back. Brittany Shepherd is still making her way back from Long Island, so we’re stuck with one another this morning. I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was restful and that if you traveled you didn’t get stuck in the traffic meltdown at National or the one on the Delaware Memorial Bridge last night. I was in the Northwest Corner of Connecticut for most of the break, where my attempt to give myself a Thanksgiving-related nickname utterly failed–turns out that just like you can’t be the one to call yourself a curmudgeon, a maverick, or “President T,” the name “Mr. Sides” cannot be self-administered.

So. What did you miss? A shutdown looms, the Camp fire has been contained, and the US tear-gassed migrants at our border with Mexico. George Papadopoulos is on his way to jail, China is editing babies’ genes, and police in Alabama killed the wrong person while hunting for a mall shooter. Closer to home, a group of CEOs has called for the region to rethink and integrate its entire transit system and two successful candidates for Alexandria’s school board got thousands of dollars from a group “tied to billionaire donors allied with the charter school lobby.”

Perhaps most momentous of all, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said that mumbo sauce isn’t that good. This opinion, while perfectly sound, was a painful heresy in a city that despite more than a century of human habitation has yet to produce a signature dish. Fried whiting is delicious, but we probably didn’t invent fish on bread. Jumbo slices are big pieces of bad pizza. And few pine for Senate Bean Soup when they take a job a ten-minute walk away from the Hill. But we don’t have to view this situation as a plight, or pretend that half-smokes are something more than Polish sausages. As Anna Spiegel wrote last year, it’s precisely this lack of an “official food” that makes Washington such an interesting place, food-wise: chefs have no expectations to meet and are thus free to experiment. That said, if you want to dump a gallon of mumbo sauce in the river to protest the mayor, drop me a line and I’ll try to get a photographer down there.

Our pick for things to do around town:

MUSIC There’s no one quite like Matisyahu: the Jewish-American reggae singer brings Orthodox Jewish themes into his lyrics and isn’t afraid to beat-box in addition to rapping. He’ll play songs from his latest album Undercurrent at City Winery. $38-$55, 8 PM.

Good reads:

Juliet Linderman tells the infuriating story of Mark Robbins, the only member left on the US government’s Merit Systems Protection Board, which is meant to protect federal whistleblowers but now, thanks to neglect, does basically nothing. (AP)

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.