April 26, 2012

NYT's Mark Bittman comes to Madison to talk about food and greenness... and insults Scott Walker.

Jeez. Why is it that we can't just enjoy our waffles? He comes here for some damned Green Day exposition and...
Bittman won Madison hearts, extolling the virtues of locally produced food and poking fun at corn producers in Iowa and Gov. Scott Walker.

"On a non-personal level, we have to look to the example of pink slime and Scott Walker and [ask]... how do we regain the power that's rightfully ours? What's government's role? Can corporations be made to behave?"
What exactly is "rightfully ours" here? Bittman isn't a Wisconsin voter, and Wisconsin voters elected Scott Walker (and the Republican legislature, which keeps forwarding him signable bills). But there's some governmental role he wants, to make corporations "behave"? What's the misbehavior — selling food that people choose to buy? What discipline does he have in mind?

Bittman's approach to promoting healthy eating is simple: tax junk food and subsidize nutritious, healthy food. But, thanks to the influence of large corporations, our approach to food has been the exact opposite, Bittman said.
Why not just withdraw the subsidies? Why is taxing so dear to the liberal's heart? And who will end up paying a tax on junk food? I don't think that tax is progressive. And it could be portrayed as part of the "war on women." It will hurt single working mothers. Ironically, it would benefit the single-earner family, where one adult is freed to shop for scratch ingredients and to cook nice meals.
To underscore the severity of the situation, Bittman fired off some alarming statistics. More than half of Americans are overweight or obese. On average, only 10% of our calories come from unprocessed fruits and vegetables (the rest come from junk food and industrially produced animal products)....
Fired off? Alarming? What embarrassing skittishness! Half of Americans are overweight. Thanks for coming all the way from NY to deliver that amazing statistic. And 10% of our calories come from unprocessed fruits and vegetables... well, yeah, these are low calorie foods. I've got an alarming statistic that will scare the hell out of you: 0% of our calories come from drinking water!

And could you do better math when reporting alarming statistics: "only 10% of our calories come from unprocessed fruits and vegetables (the rest come from junk food and industrially produced animal products)"? If that were an accurate statement it would mean that none of our calories come from processed fruits and vegetables, that we never eat animal products that are not industrially produced, and ordinary stuff like grains, bread, and pasta must be "junk food."
On the policy side, he suggested that the government actively discourage soda and junk food, and prevent children from purchasing them. Food stamps should not pay for them, and they should be taxed in the same way as cigarettes, Bittman said.
Here's your nutritional bit, man. No oral pleasure for you.

97 comments:

MadisonMan said...

The problem with Bittman is the same problem with militant ex-smokers. Once they shed their vices and start living the virtuous life, they want the rest of the world to do that same.

From the article:

In 2007, he suffered from a host of problems generally associated with middle age -- he was 40 pounds overweight, with high cholesterol and high blood sugar. He also had bad knees and sleep apnea.

Then one of his "unconventional" doctors suggested he become a vegan.

Taking his suggestion, Bittman became a "part-time vegan,"


The only thing I can agree with in that article: Food stamps should not be used to buy soda.

Expat(ish) said...

Agree 100% with "no junk for food stamps." Also no premium cuts of meat, no candy, etc, etc.

The only way I buy a steak is if it's on sale - I'd be fine with that probably.

-XC

TosaGuy said...

The Obama Admininstration's new farm work rules would prevent kids under 16 from working on a nearby organic vegetable farm. They couldn't harvest eggs from their grandparent's chicken coop. They couldn't drive a small tractor pulling a wagon of produce from their uncle's farmfield to the farmyard. The local organic garden co-op won't be able to have kids pull weeds or harvest whatever is grown there.

I grew up doing all of those things for relatives and neighbors. Those experiences made me the person I am today. I built a work ethic and an appreciation of hard work and those who do it. I learned where food should come from. My life would be very different today if these rules were in place in the 1980s.

hawkeyedjb said...

It must be hard living in a free country when your fantasies revolve around controlling other people's behavior.

Bob Ellison said...

When unprocessed food lands on the plate in front of me, I process it before ingesting it.

Shanna said...

0% of our calories come from drinking water

Ha!

I wish Bittman would just stick to recipes. Why does politics have to intrude into everything???

rhhardin said...

I get my calories from taxes.

AprilApple said...

Do not question prophets from the NYT offering you government salvation.

Joe said...

Ironically, indications are government policy has made the American diet worse that it would have been. Farm subsidies and tariffs have changed prices (and destroyed US jobs) while government dietary advice is perfectly awful, especially the latest bullshit pushed by Michelle Obama which encourages the precisely wrong diet. (I am not a low-carb advocate, just a balanced diet advocate. It's pretty clear that the demonization of dietary fat, and its subsequent reduction in food, has had a terrible effect on diet.)

Comanche Voter said...

Geeez Louise; Let Me Run Your Life.

Industrially processed foods! Who knew that a butcher was an industrial processor?

Not only is this guy a jerk, he's a rude jerk taking time to insult people in the places he visits.

Jay said...

how do we regain the power that's rightfully ours?

And that is the whole point of it. The left sincerely believes they should be in power as they are benevolent, wise, and the smartest.

Isn't that nice of them?

Mike Chuck said...

puritans

X said...

taking eating advice from a guy who can't control his weight unless he goes vegan is like getting dating tips from a priest.

Chip Ahoy said...

A strange incident occurred that does not compute.

A couple in front of me had difficulty at checkout. Appeared they went over budget. They were holding up the line by removing items, checking the total, removing more, checking the total, removing more. It was sad. I noticed they were removing all the good things that I would have kept and they and keept all the processed shit. Very bad series of food-related decisions happening right before my eyes.

This is not a Chip the hero story. I watched this, item for items knowing I was long on cash but intended to use a check card. The cash just sits there month after month. I whispered to the man to please accept a $20 note to cover the returned items with no strings at all, not even a little sermon, and he refused. Pride prevented him from sticking with the nutritional choices that the pair had already made. That was the sad part. There were no food stamps or card that I noticed just people having a hard time with food decisions.

Brennan said...

What would Obama do?

Well, what did he do with health care? He broke bread with the Big Insurance and Big Pharma to get them on board with his changes.

So, what would a revision in food stamps and what foods qualify for purchase include? Well, the President would break bread with Big Food and Big Agriculture. He's quite familiar with them already since their grand champion in the Senate, former Senator Daschle, lost his race for re-election at the same time Obama won his. So Dashcle's staff became Obama's staff.

President Obama is the number 1 recipient of Big Ag campaign contributions. He was their Senator. He's their President.

Bittman doesn't know how sausage is made in DC, but he does know he thinks giving it more and more power is the path to a better life.

The progressives think they have all the answers, but they really have no idea how markets work.

ndspinelli said...

Nice beat down Althouse! Today your derision has a proper target. That's when you're @ your best.

Joe said...

TosaGuy doesn't touch on the most ludicrous parts of the Department of Labor proposals (which NOBODY solicited); a complex set of regulations concerning the proper temperature and humidity in which minors can work.

The DOL is also quoted as saying that 4H and FFA safety programs should be ended since they are "too locally driven and lacking federal direction."

The regulations would prohibit a minor from using a power screwdriver or being in the same room as an adult rabbit.

This is one effect of eviscerating the commerce clause. It is but the beginning.

(For those interested, search "Moran" and "DOL". Also check out Senator Moran's questions on You Tube to the FDA chief about grocery store nutrition regulations. Bittman must be having an orgasm about those regulations.)

traditionalguy said...

The need to reenact a sinner and atonement play is back now that the Warmist CO2 Hoax has been shot down as a grade B Science Fiction.

The High Priest has made his visit and the dimwit atheists have kissed his ring and they now await the slaying of the sacrificial victim with a Tax Them Out of Business mob.

Higher education has hit a new all time low.

Brennan said...

Why does politics have to intrude into everything???

Because Bittman is a progressive. Politics are oxygen.

Bittman must find his bogeyman.

Patrick said...

I suppose that it sounds reasonable to say "no junk food" with food stamps, but really, what does that get? It just means the feds will come up with a definition of junk food that will run on for 5 pages of small type, and then some congress critter from ADM will realize that 5% juice (produced by ADM) really is healthy, and the congress critter from Cargill will agree, so that will be allowed, and it will go on and on, take billions, and accomplish nothing. So, I will say it loud and proud: If people on food stamps want to drink soda (even Jolt!), let them. No reason to go all Michelle Obama on them. Poverty is hard enough.

EDH said...

What's Bittman's BMI?

From the photo, he looks at least "overweigtht" if not technically obese.

He looks much heavier now than the photo from his 2009 article. Maybe that's why he believes the government needs to step?

We need to surrender because of his own weaknesses!

Simple Till Six: An Eating Plan for Busy People

The anti-girth, pro-Earth eating plan for busy, real people.

My route to saner eating was more or less accidental. Two years ago, I was 57 and weighed more than I ever had. When I graduated from college, I weighed 165 pounds; when I stopped smoking, about five years after that, I weighed 180. Then, when my first daughter was born and I had started writing about food and doing some serious eating and drinking, I hit 190. Over the next 20 years, I managed to gain more weight, reaching 214.
I’m not a small person, so I didn’t look that heavy (I thought), but I was overweight and developed health problems. My cholesterol was up, as was my blood sugar (there’s diabetes as well as serious obesity in my family). I had a hernia, my knees were giving out, and I’d developed sleep apnea...

My results were striking. I had little trouble eating this way, I began feeling and sleeping better, and I didn’t think much about it for a month or two. It just made sense. A month later, I’d lost 15 pounds. A month after that, both my cholesterol and my blood sugar were down, well into the normal range (my cholesterol went from 240 to 180). My apnea was gone, and I was sleeping through the night.


I'd like to check those same statistics today.

Chip Ahoy said...

Bittman's book, How to Cook Everything presumptuous as the title sounds a very good and useful book. His style is to lay it out logically and simply as possible and offer sensible variations. His videos are quite good too.

Christopher in MA said...

Of course he has to compare Walker to pink slime. He's a leftist. It's like clearing your throat before speaking. If the governor were a Democrat, he'd have made some slam about Bush.

"Can corporations be made to behave?"

I recall having a discussion with Cook along those lines when we were talking about shipping jobs overseas. How do you encourage a corporation to be a good citizen? I don't know. But it's certainly not by making them behave - the eternal wet dream of the left - but since we live in a country where an EPA agent can talk about "crucifying" small businesses to make an example of them and not be instantly tarred and feathered, slime like Bittman are the rule, not the exception.

Widmerpool said...

The notion that "Corporate America" is behind all this is laughable. "Corporate America" exists to give consumers what they want. If folks wanted soy-based, organic, free-range whatnot, Mr. evil corporate CEO would gladly supply.

Unknown said...

So, how do we get the New York Times Corporation to behave?

edutcher said...

Sounds like he's auditioning to be Moochelle's Food Czar in a second Zero term.

PatCA said...

Wait...is it "food insecurity" today or "everyone is obese"?

I would guess not one person at his lecture was overweight or unaware of the local eating or vegan or organic crazes.

This is all about the "other" and we are the other.

Brennan said...

If folks wanted soy-based, organic, free-range whatnot, Mr. evil corporate CEO would gladly supply.

Yep. The left just doesn't understand how markets work. If they want to start a food co-op to deliver whatever the heck they want they can start today.

However, they're really not doing this. They are taking the Abbie Hoffman route running on stage to take the microphone and scream until they get what they want. Somebody is going to have to be the Pete Townsend here.

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills over here. In modern America we have Whole Foods and Trader Joe's growing like gangbusters and the automaton left wants Uncle Sam to run things. Just let the market work.

Methadras said...

More indoctrinated morons that don't understand what pink slime is beyond their own ideology.

Ann Althouse said...

"How to Cook Everything" is indeed a great cookbook. And his columns on food are excellent.

That's a big part of why I'm disgusted by this political stuff.

Fred Broder said...

The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence make it clear that the power to make my own choices is rightfully MINE and not Brittman's or the brain dead who came out to hear him.

Stupid = the Democrat Party and its newspaper of record

Fred Broder said...

The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence make it clear that the power to make my own choices is rightfully MINE and not Brittman's or the brain dead who came out to hear him.

Stupid = the Democrat Party and its newspaper of record

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Define unprocessed.

Until we know just what the terms mean we can have no idea of what those statistics actually mean. (reference Mark Twain).

So by some definition those jars of cherries that I canned last year are processed? How 'bout the dried and frozen plums? The organic tomatoes and peppers from my garden that I made salsa and canned?

Are frozen Birdseye peas considered processed.

Steamed spinach?

????

"...he suggested that the government actively discourage soda and junk food, and prevent children from purchasing them. Food stamps should not pay for them"

The answer is not to TAX everyone for the failings of some. If you don't want food stamps to buy certain foods there are ways to control that.

I still think that the 'food stamp' program shouldn't be giving people MONEY. If you need food, then give people FOOD. Commodities of basic core foods, with a very small debit card allotment to buy the fresh items like milk, eggs etc; and to buy items that families with children need in larger quantities. (Family with children as opposed to a retired couple).

Shanna said...

Bittman's book, How to Cook Everything presumptuous as the title sounds a very good and useful book. His style is to lay it out logically and simply as possible and offer sensible variations. His videos are quite good too.

I have tried several of his recipes and enjoyed them. I like the general idea of eating fresh/local/fruits and vegetables (although I would never be a vegan and have nothing against meat).

Where people go wrong is in thinking they can dictate to the world. Everything the government has recommended in the past 40 years or so turns out to be wrong or harmful. 'No Fat! More Carbs! Let's subsidize corn!' They need to just stop.

MayBee said...

How are the school kids going to work in Michelle Obama's garden if it's illegal to do farm work?

Is it OK if the food comes from the hallowed ground of Michelle Obama's garden?

Tank said...

Fred Broder said...
The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence make it clear that the power to make my own choices is rightfully MINE and not Brittman's or the brain dead who came out to hear him.



Bad news Fred. Those docs are dead.


Or, they do not "mean" what you think they mean. Nope. That horse left the barn long ago.

Richard Dolan said...

"Why is taxing so dear to the liberal's heart? And who will end up paying a tax on junk food? I don't think that tax is progressive."

I'd blame Rousseau. He popularized the idea that one role of government is to force men to be free, all in the name of virtue (from it Latin root, virtus = manliness, so feminists need not apply). Once that's the name of the game, you can force men to do whatever is the virtuous flavor of the day (Bittman seems to take that idea literally), provided they are not led astray by a passing Amazon bearing dessert.

wildswan said...

I think that in certain areas where food stamps are widely used, the food for sale is not as fresh as it is in the suburbs. So it goes bad very fast. In those circumstances it is better to buy "junk food" which has only a small organic content and can't go bad or else eat at McDonald's which is the same as far as food goes in every area - namely abundant, tasty and cheap.

Patrick said...

That's a big part of why I'm disgusted by this political stuff."

I find myself dismayed at how often politics enters into just about everything. Not just political issues, but partisan crap. Even sports columns are not immune. I was reading a crime novel, and out of the blue a character blurts out "I really hate George W. Bush." It wasn't even Joel Klein!

mcp said...

Native American uses every part of the buffalo = admirable.
Beef processor uses every part of the cow = despicable.

Shanna said...

I think that in certain areas where food stamps are widely used, the food for sale is not as fresh as it is in the suburbs. So it goes bad very fast. In those circumstances it is better to buy "junk food"

No, it's better to buy frozen vegetables! They are very healthy and very cheap.

I always spend more when I buy junk food. Always.

David said...

Why he's here:

Bittman ended the event with questions and a book signing. Fans waited in a line that spanned the length of the room, clutching well thumbed-through copies of Bittman's books. A Room of One's Own bookstore had more copies of his books on hand.

"I think his goals are pretty practical and realistic," said Haley Gregg, a self-professed fan. "[Veganism] is hard, especially when people love food and love eating. I thought his talk with great... but he's preaching to the choir!"


Just a little commercial pandering to his potential book buyers. Part time vegan, part time whore. (Can you be a part time whore?)

Rick Caird said...

Wen Bittman says:

"More than half of Americans are overweight or obese"

It is important to note that over weight and obese are continually being defined down so as to make the statistic even more frightening. When I saw that 5'7" male is obese at 160 pounds, the definition has lost all reason.

Fernandinande said...

If he gave that speech in North Carolina he'd be a criminal unless he has an NC dietitian license:

http://volokh.com/2012/04/25/be-careful-recommending-your-own-diet-without-a-license/

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Damn. And I've been so enjoying his cookbooks, too. (How To Cook Everything and How To Cook Everything Vegetarian -- both excellent and quite amazingly comprehensive. They don't literally live up to their titles, but they come as close as any cookbooks I've seen.)

I absolutely agree with this graf of Ann's:

And could you do better math when reporting alarming statistics: "only 10% of our calories come from unprocessed fruits and vegetables (the rest come from junk food and industrially produced animal products)"? If that were an accurate statement it would mean that none of our calories come from processed fruits and vegetables, that we never eat animal products that are not industrially produced, and ordinary stuff like grains, bread, and pasta must be "junk food."

Indeed. It would be nice to know what he means by "processed." Bread and pasta are obviously "processed," and have to be; you can't eat wheat in its natural state. What about canned fruits and vegetables? Frozen? What about wild-caught fish and shellfish? (Despite the rise of fish farming, an awful lot of the fish you see in markets, from fresh to frozen to canned, is wild-caught.)

Bleh. His books are too good for me to stop using them, though.

Original Mike said...

"Why not just withdraw the subsidies? Why is taxing so dear to the liberal's heart?"

It's the method liberals have hit upon to satisify their authoritarian cravings. It's disguised; it engenders less push-back (Imagine banning soda. It isn't going to happen).

LTC John said...

"I feel like I'm taking crazy pills over here. In modern America we have Whole Foods and Trader Joe's growing like gangbusters and the automaton left wants Uncle Sam to run things. Just let the market work."

This. This, a thousand times this. Never fast enough for the automaton left.

Original Mike said...

"I grew up doing all of those things for relatives and neighbors. Those experiences made me the person I am today."

They don't want more people like you, TosaGuy.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Shanna,

No, it's better to buy frozen vegetables! They are very healthy and very cheap.

I always spend more when I buy junk food. Always.


Exactly. Frozen beans and peas and broccoli (and, these days, potato "steak fries" where you add whatever seasonings you want yourself); canned tomatoes and corn. Someone's done most of the prep for you; they will keep for a long time; and they're dirt cheap.

Frozen diced onions are really, really useful if you have a slow cooker.

None of these things are expensive. Including the slow cooker.

TANSTAAFL said...

Scratch a reactionary leftist, find the fascist writhing underneath.

Smilin' Jack said...

"How to Cook Everything" is indeed a great cookbook. And his columns on food are excellent.

How can a guy who opposes processed food write cookbooks? Cooking is processing.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Brennan,


I feel like I'm taking crazy pills over here. In modern America we have Whole Foods and Trader Joe's growing like gangbusters and the automaton left wants Uncle Sam to run things. Just let the market work.


Yeah, Sprich mir darĂ¼ber. We got a Trader Joe's in Salem (OR) recently, and it was a time of much rejoicing chez Thomson: We didn't have to drive to frakkin' Lake Oswego any more. (We'd lived for the previous twelve years or so within a mile from a Trader Joe's, and not having one we could walk to was the one real drag in moving up here.)

Whole Foods I don't miss so much. There's a reason everyone in CA called it "Whole Paycheck."

bearing said...

It is too bad he is getting so political. The two How To Cook Everything books (regular and vegetarian) are among my favorites; I often give one or the other for a bridal shower present. And his approach to lower-but-not-zero meat eating is quite reasonable and doable for anyone who wants to cut back on animal products but still loves a good bacon cheeseburger now and again.

Just goes to show you should stick to what you know. I won't stop recommending the cookbooks. But I may stop calling him a "guru."

Sarfraz Ahmad said...

Today, many developed and developing countries including European Union nations, Australia, South Africa, Egypt, Turkey, Bangladesh and Vietnam apply excise taxes on unhealthy products. Research has shown that both for tobacco and alcohol, excise taxes are an effective way of reducing consumption. With respect to tobacco, a 10 percent price increase in cigarettes is shown to reduce demand by 4 percent in high-income countries and by 8 percent in low-middle income countries. Taxes imposed on cigarettes have not only prevented people from starting to smoke, but have also reduced rates of relapse for those who recently quit smoking. http://bit.ly/K0c123

Michael Haz said...

It is a source of frustation that I cannot buy a nice, locally grown pineapple in Wisconsin.

Plus, Milwaukee River alewives ar a poor substitute for Alaskan halibut.

The Door County oranges and grapefruits are pretty nice, though.

Nathan Alexander said...

The notion that "Corporate America" is behind all this is laughable. "Corporate America" exists to give consumers what they want. If folks wanted soy-based, organic, free-range whatnot, Mr. evil corporate CEO would gladly supply.

I agree with you to a point. But only to a point.

Example: If you are above a certain age, do you think that sodas tasted better when you were a kid than they do now?

Look at the ingredients: corn syrup instead of sugar as a sweetener.

Coke pulled the bait and switch when they did "New Coke". When they went "back" to Coke Classic, it wasn't the same recipe...they had swapped high fructose corn syrup for sugar.

High Fructose Corn Syrup has problems with it. My dad is allergic to corn products, so he has to avoid anything sweetened with corn syrup...and that is almost everything. And corn syrup is less sweet than sugar, so you need more of it in a product to get the same sweetness, which means more calories. And it has a bitter aftertaste. In taste tests, people prefer sugar.

But Big Corn has these folksy commercials where a "concerned parent" did some research and found that there is no problem with corn syrup. "Sugar is sugar; your body can't tell the difference."

Which is complete BS.

Now, consumer pressure is causing some pop companies to put out "Real Sugar" versions, and they get to charge a little more.

But Corporate America did *not* give the customer what the customer wanted. They pulled a bait and switch because the rising cost of real sugar was eating into their bottom line, and they were afraid of losing customers by being the first to raise prices. So they hid the truth from the consumer and the customer was worse off.

Now, the answer isn't taxes or govt interference, of course. The answer is smarter consumers...

But the answer also is stop giving Big Corn subsidies so they have the money to make stupid, misleading "Sugar is Sugar" propaganda on the taxpayer's dime.

Nathan Alexander said...

"Why not just withdraw the subsidies? Why is taxing so dear to the liberal's heart?"

Easy. Taxing provides the revenue for the Fed Govt to look for more things they can get involved with. Subsidies provide control over certain parts of industry. The whole system allows liberals to claim they did something to help a problem, while still profiting from it, channeling taxpayer money to cronies, and punish the middle-class conservatives in flyover states w/o really impacting wealthy blue-state elites and simultaneously keeping poor blue-staters beholden to the liberals for relief.

Original Mike said...

"Now, consumer pressure is causing some pop companies to put out "Real Sugar" versions, and they get to charge a little more."

Ahh...

Oh, never mind.

Widmerpool said...

Agree Ann. Always a bit of a disappointment when a good writer like Bittman (and Frank Bruni too) reveals his puerile political beliefs. They're surprisingly like Hollywood stars. I mean, really Mark?

kimsch said...

X said...

taking eating advice from a guy who can't control his weight unless he goes vegan is like getting dating tips from a priest.


Yep, and part-time vegan at that. Heck, that would make me a part-time vegan. When I eat hummus with pita chips or pretzels. When I make and eat carrot-ginger soup. When I make and eat anything without animal products....

Sheesh.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Nathan Alexander,

I haven't had a soda with sugar of any kind in it more than three times since aspartame was introduced. And when I did, I found them irritatingly too sweet. (Some of the diet sodas are, as well. Safeway's house-brand lemon/lime soda is a lot better than Diet Sprite or Diet 7-Up.)

Discussions of soda consumption seem always to proceed as though zero-calorie sodas don't exist. Why?

Michael said...

Bittman writes good cookbooks, but he's a completely undisciplined thinker on these issues. His Michael Pollanesque book is completely incoherent-- and whether or not you agree with Pollan, you'd certainly agree that he can structure an argument; but Bittman writes in the same hysterical-anecdotal mode of his fellow Timesman Thomas Friedman.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

kimsch,

Yep, and part-time vegan at that. Heck, that would make me a part-time vegan. When I eat hummus with pita chips or pretzels. When I make and eat carrot-ginger soup. When I make and eat anything without animal products....

... when I make my favorite Mysore lentil-broth soup, or just munch carrots or celery with peanut butter. Sure.

All the same, Bittman must be very part-time in the vegan department, because I've made a lot of his meat-based recipes, and they are excellent.

Kurt said...

I've had my eye on the "How to Cook Everything" book for a while, but I guess I'll scratch it from my list of books to buy now. I don't feel the need to enrich this leftist tool by buying one of his books.

Peter said...

We obviously need government Food Insurance.

With your mandatory government Food Insurance, you can buy your allotment of government-approved foods at no out-of-pocket cost.

Of cousre, you can still buy non-approved foods (although they will be heavily taxed). Your FoodiCare Card is not a ration card- it's a gift from your benevolent, caring government!

No more Food Stamps (SNAP)- universal food coverage. Because food is a human right.

kimsch said...

Shanna said: No, it's better to buy frozen vegetables! They are very healthy and very cheap.

I also buy frozen vegetables. They're frozen almost in the field and are minimally processed (just washed and cut for the most part - veg with sauces a bit more). Canned have added salt and are cooked.

I do buy fresh vegetables in season and when I want to eat them raw. Some vegetables don't freeze particularly well, the more water a vegetable contains the more textural changes there are.

I always have fresh celery, carrots, onions, potatoes, and garlic on hand.

Frozen fruits are also a good value. Especially out of season. And frozen fruits eliminate the need for ice when making smoothies.

Kurt said...

Michael said: Bittman writes good cookbooks, but he's a completely undisciplined thinker on these issues. His Michael Pollanesque book is completely incoherent-- and whether or not you agree with Pollan, you'd certainly agree that he can structure an argument; but Bittman writes in the same hysterical-anecdotal mode of his fellow Timesman Thomas Friedman.

Frankly, I thought Pollan tended towards the hysterical-anecdotal method of argumentation myself. I found what I read of "The Omnivore's Dilemma" hard to tolerate for that reason. Maybe I wasn't responding to the "hysterical-anecdotal" in Pollan, but to the manipulative propagandist, but it still turned me off. (For example, it is essential for Pollan to begin his discussion of modern fertilizer by pointing out that Fritz Haber also developed poison gases for the Germans.)

Shanna said...

Frozen diced onions are really, really useful if you have a slow cooker.

I am in love with frozen diced onions ever since I learned they exist! Those, and the mirpoix/Cajun mirpoix’s are the best for slow cooker, soups, casseroles...all sorts of things.
And the old standby of beans and rice is dirt cheap, even when you buy a good sausage or ham hock to put in the pot.

I wish we had a Trader Joe’s, but we have a Fresh Market, which is pretty good. Their produce is way better than Whole Foods.

Now, the answer isn't taxes or govt interference, of course.

It was my understanding that ‘govt interference’ in the form of both corn subsidies and sugar tarrifs is a big part of the reason HFCS got to be so popular.

kimsch said...

@Kurt - you can check it out from the library...

Shanna said...

Some vegetables don't freeze particularly well

I do agree and I only buy certain things frozen. I buy some fresh, some frozen, some canned. I just think the ideas that everything has to be 'fresh' (and organic, for that matter) and that junk food is the only food that's cheap needs to be pushed back against every time it's mentioned. That is an excuse. If money is tight, you can always buy veggies that freeze well and supplement with a little fresh when times are good. Or grown your own, if that's an option.

kimsch said...

@MDT - Canned tomatoes for sure. I grow them in summer too. Fresh are better for tabouleh.

I've made my own frozen mirepoix mixes. Put about half a cup in a ziplock snack bag and you've got what you need in a snap.

I recently bought a pressure cooker that I use for canning and beans. It's amazing how fast one can make beans from dried beans in a pressure cooker. No kitchen should be without one. Dried beans are full of protein and fiber and are dirt cheap...

I also use my zojirushi rice cooker all the time. I make polenta on the "porridge" setting and it has white, brown, and sushi rice settings too. Set it and forget it. It has a timer function as well so rice will be ready when you get home. Great for use in conjuction with the slow cooker.

Gabriel Hanna said...

It's not true that junk food is cheaper than fresh food.

People who buy processed foods either do not have the time, or do not wish to spend the time, to cook food from scratch. Their grocery bills are much higher than people who cook from scratch, but they spend much less time in the kitchen.

Sigivald said...

tax junk food and subsidize nutritious, healthy food

As if the State (or him) knows which is which?

(Ignoring that it's none of the State's god-damn business.)

I've watched the "science" about healthy food swing back and forth on lots of things more than once in my life - and I'm not exactly a geezer.

"Keep your laws out of my fridge!"

kimsch said...

On soda - I'm not particularly fond of aspartame - there's an aftertaste I don't like but I also don't like HFCS. I'm only using Sierra Mist now if I need some pop for an adult beverage. I do have a problem with the amount of sugar they use in pop and bottled teas, etc.

The Sierra Mist bottle says a serving is 12 ounces and a serving has 140 calories.

A teaspoon of sugar has ~15 calories.

This seems like ~10 teaspoons of sugar in a 12 ounce serving of pop.

I make 16-24 ounce cups of tea at home (Trader Joe's Irish Breakfast Tea - mmm good). I use two teaspoons of sugar. ~30 calories.

Why do they need to use so much?

Pepsi just came out with a new reduced calorie version, but they're using aspartame to make up for the reduced HFCS. Why not just reduce the HFCS or sugar?

Brennan said...

But Corporate America did *not* give the customer what the customer wanted.

When it comes to high fructose corn syrup, it's yet another "solution" brought to you by the US government in cooperation/conjunction with Big Agriculture.

But why? Why would Big Food that just wants a low cost sweetener need the government? Well, we can blame the US government for that too with various bans on imports to protect domestic sugar producers. It boosts the price of sugar making demand for an alternative a new reality.

Bittman, while great at cooking, is basically saying the same thing. Let's ignore the costs and availability of products and instead just tax consumers away from the products that consumers already subsidize through their income taxes that are doled out as subsidies to corn farmers.

Dan said...

"When I saw that 5'7" male is obese at 160 pounds, the definition has lost all reason."

For sure. A few years back, I went on a health kick for several months. I shifted a good deal of weight upward, putting it from my waist up into my shoulders and arms and chest where it belonged. I got my waist down to size 32 and just for fun I proved I could squeeze, albeit uncomfortably, into size 30 jeans. I could run 5 miles without slowing to a walk. I was able to bench over 200 pounds for the first time in my life, and suspect if I'd kept it up I could have passed 250 in another month or two.

When I came across a BMI table while diddling around on the internet, imagine my surprise to find that I was obese by 2 pounds. That was one of two events that confirmed for me that the USDA and all similar organizations would serve us better by disappearing entirely. The other event was when, after having been raised on margarine, the definitive study came out saying that oopsie! We were wrong! You'd have been healthier today if you'd just been using regular butter all along. My mother (a big Obama fan, natch) to this day has a phobia of butter and scolds me when she sees me eating it. I love that woman, but I really must have picked up my political gene from Dad.

Shanna said...

I make 16-24 ounce cups of tea at home (Trader Joe's Irish Breakfast Tea - mmm good). I use two teaspoons of sugar. ~30 calories.

Honest Tea has a assam black with about that many calories. It's pretty good (although I'm still mourning the gold rush cinnamon iced tea, which was awesome!)

I've been making tea at home and added 1/2-1 cup of tart cherry juice to it. It's really, really tasty.

n.n said...

The solution is simple: moderation. It is about teaching principles rather than exceptions so individuals can think for themselves. Of course, this will never happen, because when individuals are optimally independent, there is less demand (and, in fact, progressive rejection) for government and other cooperatives which profit from control.

As for behavioral suggestions, they are individually determined. There is no universal plan which will accommodate everyone. This suggest that individuals should be aware of their own needs and adjust their behavior accordingly.

What are they teaching in our schools? They teach sexual education rather than biology. They teach activism rather than risk management. They teach people to be dependent and subservient.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

kimsch,

Around this house, the non-alcoholic beverages are Safeway's "Refreshe" (the lame new name for what used to be "Diet Ditto," not that that was a particularly great name itself); AriZona diet green iced tea; and coffee, which usually gets 1% milk added. I juice the occasional orange or grapefruit.

And, of course, ice water.

EMD said...

"When I saw that 5'7" male is obese at 160 pounds, the definition has lost all reason."

BMI is useless.

By their measures, Lebron James is obese.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

kimsch,

@MDT - Canned tomatoes for sure. I grow them in summer too. Fresh are better for tabouleh.

I'm growing fresh tomatoes for the first time. Frankly, I'm scared stiff, as I haven't a garden, just containers on a deck, and I know bugger all about staking and fertilizing and pinching-off and the like. We'll see.

I've made my own frozen mirepoix mixes. Put about half a cup in a ziplock snack bag and you've got what you need in a snap.

Now that is an idea. I've been packing carrots and celery daily for my husband's lunches; dice and throw in onion and freeze ... why the hell didn't I think of that?

I recently bought a pressure cooker that I use for canning and beans. It's amazing how fast one can make beans from dried beans in a pressure cooker. No kitchen should be without one. Dried beans are full of protein and fiber and are dirt cheap...

Ours went by the wayside a few moves back, mainly because I didn't know whether the rubber seal was sound or not. But, yes, a very useful thing.

Shanna said...

I'm growing fresh tomatoes for the first time.

I bought some sees for mini yellow tomatoes, which I fell in love with last summer, so I'm going to try it as well. I've never successfully grown tomatoes in pots, though. We'll see.

I've made my own frozen mirepoix mixes.

See I'm lazy. I just buy them. They're a dollar kroger when they run the sales, and go well in red beans and rice.

Shanna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dust Bunny Queen said...

non-alcoholic beverages are Safeway's "Refreshe"

Us too. I LOVE the diet grapefruit version. Safeway generic

Non alcoholic drinks. I make a very stong hot green tea with candied ginger. Remove the ginger after it has steeped for a bit and refrigerate for iced tea.

Also other iced tea/fruit juice combo. Basic Lipton tea with raspberry juice or lemonaid (half and half). Very good and refreshing.

For those who are nostalgic for original Coke. You can buy the cane sugar version in some Mexican neighborhood stores and I think you can order it on line.

kimsch said...

DBQ-I live in an area with a large Hispanic population and several Mexican grocers. Even our WalMart sells the Mexican Coca-Cola (in glass bottles yet).

Illinois - the fifth "border" state...

AllieOop said...

Dan said;
The other event was when, after having been raised on margarine, the definitive study came out saying that oopsie! We were wrong! You'd have been healthier today if you'd just been using regular butter all along. My mother (a big Obama fan, natch) to this day has a phobia of butter and scolds me when she sees me eating it. I love that woman, but I really must have picked up my political gene from Dad.

4/26/12 1:13 PM

Plenty of liberals eat butter, many conservatives in my county, my friends and neighbors, think I'm going to drop dead from my Paleo, low carb diet.

Sadly, what I have seen in the exclusive upscale sub divisions in my area are women who are stick thin, to the point of appearing anorexic, running, running, running.

Michael said...

"Frankly, I thought Pollan tended towards the hysterical-anecdotal method of argumentation myself."

At least he does field research. Bittman's book is totally internet cribbing.

Mary Beth said...

Yep. The left just doesn't understand how markets work. If they want to start a food co-op to deliver whatever the heck they want they can start today.

Too many regulations and required permits.

Pogo said...

Well, the FDA could just find the first five fat guys they run into, and crucify them.

The nation will be really easy to manage for the next few years.

PETER V. BELLA said...

Bittman is a progressive. They are all about discipline, punishment, pain, compliance, submission, domination, leather, whips, and chains. The whole progressive movement is nothing more than an excuse for S&M.

Palladian said...

Bittman's a hack. Skip his crap and get a copy of Julia Child's "The Way To Cook". Julia understood the importance of pleasure and the danger of ideologues.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Palladian,

I have a copy of The Way To Cook. I love it (apart from the sucky binding, such that I have to make certain that pages haven't slipped out every time I use it), but the Bittman books range wider, and they really are very good.

leslyn said...

Why buy soda with aspartame (icky aftertaste and it makes you more thirsty) or soda w/15 teaspoon of sugar? Buy plain soda water and mix it with a little orange juice, pineapple juice, grapefruit juice, whatever. Cheap, refreshing and healthy.

Also, for the summertime, get popsicles molds and pour oange juice into them and freeze. Best popsicles I ever had.

Mark said...

That's the trouble with coming to these things late: Rick Caird beat me to the central problem.

Depending on how you define "obese", 50% being over means that 50% aren't.

If it's a fair definition, we have a problem. If it's not, we're being herded like cattle to some different standard of what Soylent Green should be.

I've long stopped believing that the nutrition lobby cares about anything other than the nutrition lobby. The more changes to the suggested dietary regimine, the less likely that the free market can compensate for the distortions.

Martin said...

One of the things about all this is that most of the editorial people (as opposed to the pressmen or truck drivers or ad sellers, for example) at the NYT are idiots, hired by like-minded idiots to live off the fumes of when the NYT actually deserved a reputation as a good paper.

But have no fear, they're killing all that plenty fast.

Ambrose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ambrose said...

"[H]ow do we regain the power that's rightfully ours?"

I can't think of a better summary of contemprary liberalism.