They sometimes call it “redneck food.” You know, the greasy burgers and fries, chicken pot pies, and deep dish desserts. Now we are being preached the new American religion of lean cuisines, kale, collards, spinach and other pesticide-laced fruits and vegetables as the high road to caloric heaven.
The food police have uncovered horse meat in Swedish meatballs, non-organic feed in organic eggs, tuna that is really oily escolar, and red snapper that is neither red nor snapper. What’s going on here!
First and foremost, we’ve found a new crusade for those crusading souls who need souls to save. It’s a 20th C extension of the great American compulsion to salvage lives. Be it in tent revivals, anti-poverty drives, or Tea Party costumes heralding a once-upon-a-time America where we are told “the least government was the best government.”
I can’t speak for the Tea Party, but I’m growing a little tired of the self-righteous food police shaming anyone who still likes to cook with real butter, indulge in heavy pastas and consume great quantities of red wine. Haven’t these caloric crusaders checked lately with the felicitous results of the Mediterranean Diet? Italians, Spaniards and Greeks not only have impressive survival rates, they seem to be a damn sight more content with their lives than most hard-driving American vegans. The lean vegans may look better in a bathing suit on a beach, but how many hours a week do we spend in a bathing suit on a beach?
Shaming our fellow-citizens who enjoy the fun and flavor of real fat in their food has become the latest high in our society’s traditional pantheon of organized do-goodism. I respect their sense of calling, yet resent their state of rightousness when they tell me “being fat is obscene.” You see, fat is a relative term which, like all relative terms, changes with the times. Some of the world’s most notable figures — from Cleopatra to Napoleon, from Marilyn Monroe to Chris Christie — have shown that fame is measured in more than weight. And that happiness comes in more than dieting.
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