by Ezra Klein
Over at Gristmill, Pangolin writes:
This Alice Waters has volunteers convinced that the way to spend their time is to bring fruits and vegetables into classrooms and introduce them to kids at the peak of their quality. Kids will eat carrots, kale and broccoli when it’s fresh and well presented and refuse it if it’s just a little bit peaked. Put salad bars in high schools and kids will clean them out but only if the ingredients are good quality.
Anybody who doesn’t think it isn’t a national priority to put apples and persimmons in mouths instead of twinkies hasn’t looked at a health insurance bill recently. Your tax bill is directly related to the national consumption of Mac’N’cheese in favor of chickpeas. A moron like Bourdain who spends his time eating the best of food but denying the importance of that same food to the health of his countrymen is a jerk.
There’s no free market in food in the US. Every food item that you don’t pick from your own yard is subsidized or taxed in some way. What’s wrong with picking the good food over the garbage?
This comment is a neat encapsulation of the way the food movement can mix an admirable populism with a counterproductive projection of their own food preferences. I’ve been a kid. You could have built me a race car out of kale and I wouldn’t have chosen to touch the thing. The children of America do not cry out for salad bars.
But the second paragraph is a hardheaded policy point: Paying more for food now probably means we’ll pay less for health care later. The evidence that childhood eating patterns correlate with adulthood health problems is increasingly strong. Hell, the rise of type 2 diabetes means the evidence that childhood eating patterns correlate with childhood health problems is increasingly strong. But the two points don’t exist separately from each other. If listeners think the health argument is cover for salad bar advocacy, they’ll toss out the whole damn thing. You won’t get anywhere arguing that access to healthful food should be a right if people think you really mean to say is that what they eat should no longer be a choice.