Wednesday, September 27, 2006

How Not to Instill a Love of Good Food

Everyone has something about their work that drives them crazy. Well, everyone except those who start out that way. In which case, hardly anything about their work, no matter how unfortunate or maniacal, causes them to veer from course. Hardly anything causes them to reflect, if it can be said that the insane gainfully reflect, when asked about something as nation-affirming and life-snuffing as, say, a civil war, that such a situation could be more than "just a comma".

Suddenly, I'm comforted by the fact that things drive me crazy. See this chart?1 It drives me crazy. I've seen lots of these charts. I've been spoon fed these charts and regurgitated them when required. Take a look.

Who in their right mind sends their child to school (in one of the wealthiest countries on the planet) with a brown bag containing a boiled potato? Or lettuce leaves? A hunk of tempeh? I'm a notorious brown-bagger, and many of these suggestions are splendid. But this anti-junk food movement is getting out of hand. I'm afraid it may backfire. I'm afraid that sending little Gareth off to school with a stash of celery sticks will create a little Gareth, the closet chip eater, or a little Gareth, the I'll-trade-you-2-spoonfuls-of-my-dry-bulgur-for-9-of-your-Gummy-Bears. (If little Gareth is triumphant in that last endeavor he has the makings for big Gareth the successful businessman.)

The obesity epidemic is an unfortunate result of a number of social, economic, and political factors. I don't think a baggie of squash sticks is going to have much impact. And it certainly won't instill a love of good food.

Update, April 2011: Times have changed. I've changed. I'm sorry I said this. A bag of boiled potatoes is good.
1 Source: Giant Food Stores, Healthy Ideas; Nourishing Body and Mind, September/October, 2006.

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