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March 23, 2010

Top Ten foods most likely to be banned under Obamacare


The idea for this week's Top Ten list comes from Dining@Large reader Alexander D. Mitchell IV.

I'd like to thank Alexander for the suggestion. And I'll thank the rest of you for sending any and all complaints his way.

Good luck with that, Alexander!

The list:

Top Ten foods most likely to be banned under Obamacare

1. Any produce not grown in a White House garden, schoolhouse garden or mammoth agribusiness spread in a swing farm state 

2. Any food that ends in "o"

That means Frito, Cheeto and anti-cholesterol poseur Cheerio

3. The entire chips/snack food aisle in every major supermarket

Exceptions made for whole-grain, no salt, biodynamic pretzels  

4. Artery-clogging cheeses

Exceptions made for triple creme purchased at Whole Foods by hipsters with food stamps

5. Tobacco

OK, it's not a food crop. But the nation's unsmoked smokes will be confiscated and stored at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

6. Twinkies

"A Twinkie is not a cigarette," Michelle Obama remarked at an anti-obesity forum the other day. That's precisely why the chemical-laden sweets will not be stored in the White House but trucked directly to Yucca Mountain for disposal.

7. Fast food

Obama will grant two exceptions in deference to his many European fans: French fries. And any McDonald's sandwich with "bistro" in its name.

8. High-fructose corn syrup

Scientists now say the sweetener is no more likely than sugar to make us fat. (It still may not be so hot for the liver and kidneys.) But along with sugar, it is making us fat. Besides, nutritional punching bags, like political ones, rarely wear out.

9. Arugula

Obama has been gunning for the tasty green since that campaign-trail joke flopped.

10. Beets

They may be darling root vegetable du jour, but beets are for Obama what broccoli was for George H.W. Bush.


Chicago Tribune photo

Posted by Laura Vozzella at 5:27 AM | | Comments (84)
Categories: Top Ten Tuesdays


"Obama has been gunning for the tasty green since that campaign-trail joke flopped."

You know what else flopped? Your hyperlink.

Thanks for pointing that out. LV


The campaign-trail joke link was missing a couple of characters at the beginning. It should have been:

Thanks, Hal. LV

Freaking awesome! Funniest Top Ten I've read in a long time.

Funny? Eh.

Sorry, meant to post that for last week's top ten. I don't even understand this one.


Was this supposed to be funny?

Just for the record, I just suggested the topic. I didn't make up the list.

And I wonder: If they start taxing sugary drinks as some in that government have proposed (no, seriously, not just some scare propaganda from the "right"), would diet drinks be tax-free?

Sorry if that wasn't clear. Alexander only provided the topic, not the list itself. LV

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that purely political posts only tangentially related to the purpose of this blog can't be amusing - I actually enjoyed the Top 10 Gift Cards post. But this one just felt slapped together, just not funny, and snarky. Usually, the snark is reserved for the comments section, and that's the better way to do it, in my opinion.

And pawning off responsibility for the list to the person who merely suggested it? Hmmm, that seems like blaming Obama for the current recession...

Sheesh! I was just joking about passing on the blame to my kind idea man. Why is everyone so grumpy today? The sun's out, health care passed ... LV

Ah, Samantha, I see. Thanks for clarifying! I'm relieved.

I miss Elizabeth Large. Leaving aside the foolishness of injecting politics into a food column, that list was far more bitter than it was funny.

Really? Bring back the food/restaurant oriented blog. I don't read this for appropriate or innapropriate political commentary. If this is the new trend, dining@large will lose readers.

Bitter, like overpriced Whole Foods arugula...

Banned= more delicious. Where did i leave my raw milk cheese?
I'll 34th the motion for politics free, please. Bothers my digestion. How about a Top Ten free wifi spots with good food? here, I'll even start: Ibar on maryland ave.

captcha: next wrongest: back on course, please.

This column missed the mark and borders on offensive. There are enough lies about what the healthcare bill will do without columns like this perpetuating the "Obamacare" myth. How about talking about actual benefits of the bill, like allowing young adults to stay on their plan through age 26 or stopping insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions? For millions of Americans who will now be able to get coverage, this is not a joke.

Well, get a load of this:

"On the heels of health care, a new Harris poll reveals Republican attitudes about Obama: Two-thirds think he's a socialist, 57 percent a Muslim—and 24 percent say 'he may be the Antichrist.'"

Heck, all I called him was a non-beet eater. LV

This is why newspapers are dying. Even your webposts stink


It's okay if you don't agree with me. I don't care for you retracting my opinion for me, however.

I agree with Tom. Keep the political commentary away from the food blog. I really don't come here to get the snarky bitterness that was served up today.

Samantha, I wouldn't care for that either, which is why I didn't do it.

Sigh... well, here once again, we see the perils of anonymous posting. Samantha may or may nor have retracted her statement, and she then may or may not have written believing that I did it. I didn't.

Mel: 1. Calm down. 2. Did you actually read the whole bill... law? Do you know EVERYTHING that is in there? Please get off your high horse.

Offensive? Bitter? Inappropriate politics? Who reads this weblog, wingeing old grannies and dotty pensioners?

What a bunch of dim-witted prats. They say Americans don't understand irony or satire. Quite so here.

Miss Laura, a topical amuse bouche. Well done indeed. Be not dissuaded, sharp humour is difficult or impossible for most people to write and apparently for some to suss out. This is a NEWS-paper weblog and something quite topical is what you want, now don't you?

Nice to see signs of cracking life here at the helm, not so much in the punters. Carry on dear, you are the daffodil in my morning.

Oh noes, under #2 we also lose tomato and potato and SpaghettiO.

Well played, madam. Bazinga!


I am trying this site again after leaving Dining@Large under E. Large. I witnessed/experienced too much inner politics and felt it was overrun by commenters/ cronys towards the end.

Who would have thought one of the first posts I came across would have been one that combined both? In a food and dining blog? And that I would actually agree with most of the commenters?

Let's start with the fact that "Obamacare" is what you see on signs carried by angry Tea Party protesters. When it shows up in a headline for a Tuesday top ten, it suggests that we've come a long way from the genial wit and warmth with which Elizabeth Large invested this blog. And when the list is as "snarky" (to quote Sean with whom I am in complete agreement,) what was once a pretty terrific food forum has obviously changed. And not for the better. Ms. V, you're a good journalist. Take a look at what made this blog so popular and let's get back to talking about -- and comparing notes on -- our shared love of dining well, at home or out, politics notwithstanding.

yeah, let's get back to compelling topics like top ten hot chocolates (as supplied by readers the week before). zzzzzzz..........

are you folks for real? is there no room in the salad bar for french, thousand isle and green goddess dressing? if it is not to your taste, scooch along, don't pee on the counter.

Who reads this weblog...those who are interested in food, restaurants and the latest happenings in the area.

Who usually susbscribes to blogs...a generally younger demographic.

Some logic above is backward: the 'old grannies and pensioners' generally lean more conservatively; typically they don't like health care reform and would be the ones who would actually appreciate the satire in this post.

(i apologize for my own generalizations above)

It does not make a reader 'dim-witted', nor a 'prat' to not want to see a controversial political agenda be a focal point on here in a popular column on food.

EL did a fantastic job keeping readers interested in area food and restaurants. This is a major turn from her successful path and hopefully it is not one that becomes a trend.

I wonder if Jay C is still thrilled that EL is gone...

I wonder if Jay C is still thrilled that EL is gone...

Tea won't be banned, that's spinach for Obama.

Does no one have any manners? You are guests at Ms. Vozzella's table. You don't compare a new wife to a former one and you do not criticize your host's dishes while at the table. Grace is not just what say you say at the beginning of a meal. Elbows off the table, we are not barbarians.

Thank you for listening.

“If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.”

Mahatma Gandhi

If a new chef began to change the food at a favorite restaurant, a dissatisfied customer would not be a 'barbarian' if they offered criticism.

And in the same way, LV can do whatever she wishes with this column; its hers. Since the column serves a diverse population, change opens up a forum for criticism, both supportive as well as unsupportive.

I was referring to you having your elbows on the table, Andrew. Now put your napkin on your lap and sit up straight, after all, we are not Visigoths. There you go.

You know, you folks are all providing plenty of evidence to back up the hypothesis that Obama supporters lack a sense of humor.

So go ahead. You have five minutes to propose a Top Ten list idea that hasn't been proposed before and is somehow timely and topical. Five minutes. GO.

Oh, how bloodily ironic the captcha is: "The Humor".........

ADM, I don't get the sense that it is politics driving most of the comments. Regardless of where one stands on the new law, it looks to me from the comments that people just don't understand the connection between food and "Obamacare" in the first place.

amen, ADM, although them tea party people seem to all have had funny-bone-ectomies too

LV - good topic you get an A for effort.. there are reports of a pizza tax coming to a state near you... next up will be cameras in your living room to make sure you're doing your exercises at 6am sharp... captcha "pizza at"... Big Brother already knows what I'm thinking... must be the camera built into my monitor

Ok, I'll "bite." Is there something in the new law that taxes or prohibits food? I confess I'm not really up-t0-date on all the details of it.

let's see if we can diagram the humor here:

1) "Obamacare" is meant to be tongue in cheek, because it was coined by people who hate the President and make up crazy stuff.

1b) It is particularly ironic that haters think that attaching "-care" as a suffix is a proper way to coin a term of abuse. Not real clever, them zealots.

2) The hyperbole on the radical right and the just plain loonies is ridiculously extreme (death panels, Communism, etc). So saying that foods will be banned is called parody or satire, because foods will not be banned.

2b) When you take something to an absurd extreme, it becomes funny and you can see that some of your original thinking was silly. Ref: A Modest Proposal

3) Almost all the food references were blog topics here (hence relevant). That's part of the joke, the inside joke, if you will (although inside knowledge is not necessary since they are generally acknowledged as topics of interest elsewhere)

4) Everybody is all tense and humorless and tired about "Obamacare" and this is the perfect snack to ease the tension, like a casserole after a funeral, sort of.

4b) Note that the tone is light and playful, not snarky and bitter. Tart is not the same as bitter.

And since no one else said it, thank you very much, Alexander for contributing a fine idea. How many other people can do that?

Live, love, laugh ( for tomorrow Obama may hit you over the head with a shovel and bury you alive.)


The first benefit of the bill you can come up with is the ability to stay on mommy and daddy's policy until way past when you should cut the cord?

A nation of X-Box playing slackers living in their parents' basements is a wonderful legacy.

Yeah fed hal, or a nation of graduate students.

The post is witty and topical. I think the entries having to do with politics are your funniest ones LV. Please keep them coming. Just because you like food doesn't mean you can't have a sense of humor people.

There shall be no humor when it comes to defeating OBAMACARE!! You're either with us or against us! Ooops, sorry Sept 2001 flashback.

So no restaurants left in Baltimore, huh?

Hey mom and dad, you know the 25 grand a year you spent to send me to college? Turns out, employer's aren't looking for people with my degree, so do you mind if I crash in my old room for a few years while I go to graduate school and find myself?

See what happens when you post a purely political topic on a restaurant blog? It get ugly. Quickly.

Can't we have ONE place where we don't have to hear about the health care bill? Just one? Please?

Beet recipe: 6 comments

Obamacare: 50 comments

Yeah, people really hate those political posts, LV.

Anon, I don't remember the health care bill being brought up here before. Oh, you're probably being facetious. Plus the bill isn't brought up here directly anyway, only ingest, I mean in jest.

Getting ugly? What a bunch of wilting arugulas. The so-called foodies here get way meaner about dumb stuff like crab meat and what is tex-mex.

captcha: dlroth rules

Leonora, most of the comments so far are negative, so, yeah.

If someone isn't heckling you, you really haven't reached your audience. Gold, Laura, gold!

Maybe you could do something on the top ten milk drinks. Like Ovaltine: the jar is round, the glass is round, why not call it Roundtine? Gold!

@ VHR. Thank you. Now I get it. I wasn't politically savvy enough to get that the list was: Top Ten Foods [the radical right wing will claim] are likely to be banned under Obamacare.

there you go, richard. it's just some chocolate icing on the body politic.

This blog may belong to LV now, but it is also MY blog home. And just for the record, I adore LV, as I did EL before her. People seem to forget that even our original fearless leader had her snarky days.

I agree with Dahlink. I think without topics like this, things would get...well.....boring.

Well, inflammed discussion is still discussion.

Quantity has a quality all it's own -- now if only I could remember who said that...


Well *I* chuckled at it. Thanks, LV :)

lol el gen.

Bravo, LV. Better to be disagreed with than ignored.

I disagree with St. Paul; it is better to kick against the pricks. Well written and clever as we have come to expect. More please.

Well, have at folks. Enjoy - if you folks are happy with the new direction of the blog, more power to ya!

Good luck, LV - overall, I think you did a great job stepping into some big shoes. But I think that, given the crushing spam content, the new focus of the blog, folks playing the race card for no reason, etc, I'm taking off. Plus, I really should focus more at work...

It's been real!


and who doesn't like chocolate icing! Thanks for your patience.

Don't leave just yet, Sean. As the intro to the blog points out, LV is filling in until a new restaurant critic is named. I think she's making a valiant effort in an area that's not her forte. Somehow, when she writes in the Sun about City Hall and Annapolis, the tone is sharp and pungent. When she uses the derogatory
"Obamacare," echoing the Tea Party hooligans who made headlines the past few days, it ain't funny, McGee.

Let's go with the comment I should have made in the first place, and start up ANOTHER 75 comments........

The "right wing" will be perfectly happy to accept all the provisions of the latest dubiously-"passed" health-care "bill"........

.... if, in exchange, THEY may post watchers at EVERY check-out register in America, empowered to severely smack around and reject ANY "food stamp" customer that attempts to use said "food stamps" to buy potato chips, snack cakes, sodas, punch, sheet cakes, donuts, etc.

Captcha: "Some Scoffed." Okay, NOW I'm convinced that ReCaptcha is psychic.....

I respectfully differ, MAG. Using "Obamacare" is funny, because it slyly shines a light on the coarse, sometimes racist, ignorant rantings of the lunatic fringe. Engage or be trampled said someone.

I am reminded of a book that I read a long time ago called Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter. It resonates quite strongly now. I recommend it to everyone. (1964 Pulitzer Prize).

Ironically, for all the people that pine for the good old days of when all we did was talk about food (LMAO), isn't it remarkable how much on-topic people are lately? People start to swerve when they get bored. Hipster foods stamps and this topic have quite a high number of comments and both are totally on topic.

I myself am a Hegelian when it comes to discussion.

LV, next time go with the catchy lead of "Top Ten most likely foods to be banned under HR 4872 -Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010(Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by the House)"

Ha! Will do. LV

I see that the Sun editors dumbed down the blog post title for the online home page.

Satire is what closes at New Haven.

sean, NOOOOOoooooo!!!!!!!! Wait, come back! You can't go now! Didn't they tell you this is the only blog you can never leave?

See, she just put up a post about Bourdain! Just for you! I mean, the return of Bourdain, Jay C, and Owl Meat Gravy in one day, how often does that happen, hmmm?

Okay, c'mon now. I'm not kidding. Don't you make me talk haiku at you. I've already used up my lifetime allotment of exclamation points in this single comment.

Maybe a fairy tale for Hennessy...

"Satire is what closes at New Haven."

So clever should just be a poor spelling of cleaver? Would that we aspired to discourse greater than the lowest common denominator.

Didn't they have a clever fellow named Mencken here once?

Not everyone who is against Obamacare is a wingnut. It is bad legislation on both fiscal and constitutional grounds.

Now, that said, I don't have a problem with LV's top ten list. It is witty, and it is food oriented. It is also important to laugh at things. I'm not saying we should all strive to iconoclasts, but joking about beets and cheetos won't shake our moral or our political foundations.

Jeez, Laura Lee. Jeez. Well played.


Fine. Here's what I'll do: I'll just avoid commenting on things that I find unappealing. I won't start or get involved in any disputes (which some folks are probably thrilled to hear).

And hey, good point - a Bourdain post? I'm there.

LL, you remind me why I love this blog - the frequently wonderful comments and commenters. Thanks.

Bulldog, I'm reasonably certain that you didn't get my post. Which is a bit ironic.

HL, meaning satire isn't very popular and never makes it to Broadway because it closes in previews in New Haven? I don't think they do that anymore, do they? If not, fill me in.

Sorry bulldog, I misunderstood you. That's pretty much right, except that I don't think that satire is bad. I think it's sad that it flies over the head of so many people.

I love a topic with a little bit of politics in it. I really love a topic with some humor in it. LV gets it just right most times. Keep 'em coming LV, you are doing a good job.

To RoCK - "It is bad legislation on both fiscal and constitutional grounds."
Yeah, Alf Landon said that about Social Security in 1936. "The Republican National Committee circulated the charge that Roosevelt's Social Security Act would cut wages and force workers to wear identification tags around their necks." - - It seems that grotesque distortions about progressive programs is an old GOP strategy.

And overnight the dems approval ratings surge and the stock market surges. fear takes a holiday. next!

Link spam at 11:17 PM! (Another shill for an alleged jobs site.)

ReCaptcha: whooped noncommunist (weirdly appropriate for this topic)

I can't wait for politicians to seriously campaign to take away someone one's health insurance. That will be loads of fun to watch.

Irony Fail:

Me on February 23, 2010:

"I recommend, again, that folks who don't find this blog, the new tone, the regulars, etc to their liking just move on to something else."

Me on March 23, 2010:

"Well, have at folks. Enjoy - if you folks are happy with the new direction of the blog, more power to ya!

Good luck, LV - overall, I think you did a great job stepping into some big shoes. But I think that, given the crushing spam content, the new focus of the blog, folks playing the race card for no reason, etc, I'm taking off."

Sheesh. Whatta maroon.

What a difference a month makes...

sean, does that mean you're sticking around a bit longer? I hope so!

I like you sean, but I can't agree with your methods.

If you don't like a party that you have been invited to, just leave. There is no dignity or honor in announcing that the party and the host suck and that other people should follow you.

The idea that LV has any control over spam or user comments is crazy.

As for direction, I very much like the sharp writing, idea-based topics and journalistic depth.

I've left here many times but never issued a proclamation against the host.

On the issue of spam, perhaps LV could deputize some of us to help keep control of the spam. This would have many benefits, including a badge and a chance to exert petty authority. I figure during the first week I would delete spam, but soon after I would be deleting any post that I disagree with. Ah, the power.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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