Let them eat artisanal cake
Much as I love the whole eat-local movement and respect Alice Waters, the opinion piece from the Los Angeles Times that MrRational linked to in a comment had me rolling on the floor. In case you're one of those readers who skips the comments, here's the part of it that pertained to food. It's by Charlotte Allen. EL
Some people might worry about the effect on recession-hit families of a 17% increase in the price of milk, but not Alice Waters, the food-activist owner of Berkeley's Chez Panisse restaurant, who shudders at the thought of sampling so much as a strawberry that hasn't been nourished by organic compost and picked that morning at a nearby farm -- and thinks everyone else in America should shudder too. "Make a sacrifice on the cellphone or the third pair of Nike shoes," Waters airily informed the New York Times in April. ...
Pollan also hoped that rising prices might constitute another weapon in his ongoing war against his agribusiness villain of choice: corn. Corn is a plant, of course, and thus should theoretically rank high on Pollan's list of permissible edibles. But it is also the basis of such dubious items as snack chips, Coca-Cola (high-fructose corn syrup, godfather of obesity) and suspiciously plentiful beef (corn-fed).
Pollan is a "locavore," one of those people who believe that in order to be truly ethical, you should eat only foods grown or killed within your line of sight (for me, that would be my neighbor's cat). He once described a meal he made consisting of a wild boar shot by him in the hills near his Bay Area home and laboriously turned into pate, plus bread leavened by yeast spores foraged from his backyard.
Lately, Pollan has set his sights on Häagen-Dazs ice cream, not because it contains corn syrup (it doesn't) but because it's a commercially made product, and if there's one thing Pollan hates, it's commerce. His latest pronunciamento: "Don't buy any food you've ever seen advertised."
Demanding that other people impoverish themselves, especially these days, in the name of your pet cause -- fostering craftsmanship, feeling "connected" to the land, "living more lightly on the planet" or whatever -- goes way beyond Marie Antoinette saying "let them eat cake." It's more like Marie Antoinette dressing up in her shepherdess costume and holding court in a fake rustic cottage at the Petit Trianon.