The G8 Potluck: What's for Dinner?

PHOTO: Barack Obama arrives to speak on Global Agriculture and Food Security at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington on May 18, 2012 on the sideline of the G8 summit.Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
Barack Obama arrives to speak on Global Agriculture and Food Security at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington on May 18, 2012 on the sideline of the G8 summit.

Clear your afternoons and evenings: The great G8 is upon us! Soon leaders from the eight best countries in the world will converge on Camp David to smile awkwardly next to each other and sit through hours of exciting conversations about the economy.

Will there be late-night parties? Probably not. This isn't the G20, after all.

This year's Group of Eight will have some new faces at the table. What will be on the table itself? We know the topics — the eurozone crisis, Iran probably — but what about the food?

Here's what we think the guests are bringing to dinner — a tip sheet for interpreters who can figure out the most polite way to ask to pass the peas.

Francois Hollande: An All-You-Can-Eat Buffet (With Mediocre Food) France's new president is a die-hard socialist who wants to tax the rich about 100 percent and make everyone else happier. He has vowed to end the era of austerity — so gorging in a bottomless croissant and salad bar feels appropriate.

Don't worry about picking up the tab. The great thing about socialism is that it takes care of itself.

Barack Obama: Cake

Come on, who doesn't love cake? Everyone gets a slice, even Joe Biden, why not.

Obama's job at the G8 is to foster a productive discussion about the economy so that the euro stays strong and no economies collapse. Just kidding – his only job is to look good for the cameras. He's the host, in his only reelection year, and the most important topic to him (Mitt Romney) won't even be on the docket at Camp David.

Obama wins the G8 if he comes out of it looking like a confident leader and sitting as far away from France's socialist president as possible.

David Cameron: Bratwurst

And to go with it, bread and lots of butter. Yes, bratwurst is a food native to Germany — but you can bet that Britain's premiere will be trying to butter up German Chancellor Angela Merkel as much as possible.

Cameron recently said that Merkel needs to open up her purse to prevent a collapse in Greece, which could cripple the euro. Merkel would rather not. Sounds like a food fight might be inevitable, and Cameron needs every tool he can get.

Maybe the Brit will bring some cases of warm ale with him. That could make swallowing a bailout a lot easier.

Angela Merkel: A Tiny Jar of Sauerkraut

It's an acquired taste — and this weekend, the powerful Merkel isn't going to want to be sitting around a bunch of world leaders begging her for money.

There won't be a lot of the sour cabbage, though — probably not even enough for herself. Austere means austere.

Dmitry Medvedev: Reset-atouille

Vladimir Putin is the new and old president of Russia, but he's not coming to Camp David. Instead he's sending his travel-size version, Medvedev, known to most Americans as the guy Obama told he'd have "more flexibility" to do stuff once he beats Romney.

The reason for Putin's absence isn't clear, but it's been widely interpreted as a pretty big snub of Obama. How do you reset a reset?

Stephen Harper: Tofu

Canada's premiere is probably going to be the designated driver at this shindig. He's by far the least interesting person in attendance, and that includes the interpreters. Harper will bring a healthy serving of the world's most malleable food product so he can fit in with whatever everyone else is talking about.

Literally: Harper's aides told the press that he wants to talk about "everything from Afghanistan to Europe's economic woes and the Iranian and Syrian crises." Might as well throw in global warming, education and whaling. And can we talk about the Northwest Territories for once, please?

Mario Monti: Value Meals

At this year's G8, Italy's prime minister (and finance minister — it's a double job) is not a cocky politician caught in sex, corruption and fraud scandals. He's a technocratic economist with his eyes on labor reforms and cutting spending.

Monti won't be in the spotlight much at the G8, and that's probably fine with him. He's only been in the job a few months anyway.

Yoshihiko Noda: Napkins

What a fun time for Japan's relatively new prime minister — his first G8, a free trip to Camp David, powwow time with Obama, and nobody has any beef with him. And he's not really asking for anything. But the new guy always has to bring the paper products.

Sure, Noda will pile on Germany with the rest of the gang, but he won't be first in line. Mostly, Noda is a reminder to the other leaders that if a crisis isn't dealt with speedily, bad things happen (remember the "lost decade" in Japan?). With that accomplished, Noda can focus on trying to photo-bomb as many pictures as he can.