Every time I think of canceling my subscription
to the Sunday New York Times,
(it is an expensive indulgence to have it delivered here in Canada!)
I receive an issue that has so much interesting reading I just can't bring myself to give it up.
And speaking of giving up...the article this week I loved:
Why the war on obesity isn't just about curbing our appetites.
She summarizes the American way of "Eating too much,
indiscriminately, anywhere, at any time, in response to any and all stimuli, is as central to our freewheeling spirit, mavericky way of being as car cupholders and drive-throughs."
Warner continues..."You can't change specific eating behavior without addressing that way of life - without changing our culture of food. You need to present healthful eating as a new, desirable, freely chosen expression of the American way."
Apparently, during the Second World War, food-rationing programmes recognized this political-cultural-emotional triumvirate. It taught the American people to eat differently (i.e. less meat in particular as it was needed for the soldiers) by employing two methods...one nutritional and one psychological.
The Food and Nutrition Board fought on the nutritional front, while the Committee on Food Habits, lead by Margaret Mead, plus the National Research Council took care of the problem of changing food habits.
Essentially, they presented the idea that eating the way the government wanted you to, healthfully and for the good of the nation at large, was a way of displaying patriotism and supporting the war effort.
As usual, no one learned from history and the success of this two-pronged effort was disbanded after the war. The Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services continue to issue edicts on ratios of fat to carbs, etc., but without any regard to how people feel about eating and food.
According to David Kessler, the former US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, when America tackled smoking, "...it was a shift in cultural attitudes not laws or regulations, that led Americans to quit smoking. In the space of a generation cigarettes stopped being portrayed as sexy and cool and started to be seen as a terribly disgusting, addictive product."
The task at hand, Warner proposes is to somehow make "...field greens and strawberries
as comforting, satisfying and heartwarmingly American as apple pie..."
And should you give in to the indulgence of this newspaper this week...check out the
article on traveling to Venice in the winter in the Travel Section...makes me want to jump on a plane right now!