Wednesday, February 02, 2011

NY Times 'Food Manifesto' Calls for Civilian Cooking Corps

Just what we need. Celebrity chefs setting national policy. People chuckle when some complain that the government wants to tell you what to eat. Well, if they ever really get into enforcing such a practice, this guy sounds like he's angling for a czar role. He makes some valid points, such as ending certain food subsidies, but then veers way off the path into some nightmarish government culinary utopia, with calls for further empowering the FDA. For good measure, he even works global warming into it.

But this just jumped off the page.
Encourage and subsidize home cooking. (Someday soon, I’ll write about my idea for a new Civilian Cooking Corps.) When people cook their own food, they make better choices. When families eat together, they’re more stable. We should provide food education for children (a new form of home ec, anyone?), cooking classes for anyone who wants them and even cooking assistance for those unable to cook for themselves.
Cooking classes for anyone who wants them????? Huh? Who's going to pick up that tab? Heck, I could make the argument 250 million Americans have no clue how to cook, or at least well and in healthy fashion. So are cooking classes going to be declared a right, like ObamaCare? Cooking assistance????? What's that? Are Michelle Obama and Mike Bloomberg going to run the hiring unit there, training a fresh army of newly-minted government bureaucrats to come into homes to make sure they're properly measuring their sodium and caloric intake?

We haven't got enough economic problems in America? Now we need a Civilian Cooking Corps? This is madness.

Of course in this vision, it's all to be paid for by -- wait for it -- higher taxes!
Tax the marketing and sale of unhealthful foods. Another budget booster. This isn’t nanny-state paternalism but an accepted role of government: public health. If you support seat-belt, tobacco and alcohol laws, sewer systems and traffic lights, you should support legislation curbing the relentless marketing of soda and other foods that are hazardous to our health — including the sacred cheeseburger and fries.
This isn't paternalistic? Well, such tax-raising measures have been floated often in New York (you'd think he'd know this) and have been met with stiff resistance. Of course it's all just done incrementally other ways.
Reinvest in research geared toward leading a global movement in sustainable agriculture, combining technology and tradition to create a new and meaningful Green Revolution.

I’ll expand on these issues (and more) in the future, but the essential message is this: food and everything surrounding it is a crucial matter of personal and public health, of national and global security. At stake is not only the health of humans but that of the earth.
This guy takes himself way too seriously. He'd be a natural in the Obama administration.


roux said...

I learned to cook from my grandmother and her african american maid Miss Helen. Of course I live in the south where men cook and cook a lot and we don't shy away from real butter and bacon fat.

nicholas shaw said...

Forgive me if I'm wrong but "REinvest in research toward leading a global movement in sustainable agriculture"? Has this guy been living under a rock? It has been private enterprise that has come up with agricultural crops with higher outputs along with disease and climate resistant strains. It's not a new phenomenon but, we know that anyone that includes "green revolution" in their writing with admiration is nothing more than a doofus hoping that other doofi (is that the correct term?) will gather round and sing his praises (and yes, that could land him a job with this administration) 

the wolf said...

Well, yes, it's very easy to stuff every fascistic whim under the category of "public health" when the public has to pay for it.  Remove government from healthcare and there is no such thing as "public" health--only my health and your health.  And we are responsible for ourselves.

skeneogden said...

Just another green kook who wants all of us unwashed to march in lockstep and to bow to his superior world view.  Food is not just a fuel, it is an artform, as anyone who has sampled from the vast culinary choices that we have here in America knows.