- I was once a registered Republican (didn't just vote that way, I identified that way).
- I was once a staunch and abiding supporter of the death penalty (as in, I was willing to say so loudly and in public).
A member, and hoping to stay that way, of the reality-based community
23 September 2011
29 August 2011
Well, yeah, you can. But that completely misses both Bourdain's point and the actual issue at hand: eating like a "traditional" Southerner (minus the ridiculous volume of greens, and plus the many, many calories provided by all of the biscuits, gravy, pork, and the endless desserts-- cf. Deen's appearance on NPR's "Wait, Wait! Don't Tell Me") will probably kill you. And it will kill you by giving diabetes and the many other afflictions that derive from profound obesity, which are bad enough by themselves. The people who invented the food Deen celebrates worked like animals (in the case of the slaves and tenant farmers nearly literally), and generally died from things that killed them long before heart disease could set in. Unless you're out walking in a field all day every day, you don't get to eat like them with impunity.
She’s otherwise 100 percent justified in assailing the culinary aristocracy, to which even a self-styled bad boy like Bourdain belongs, for an often selective, judgmental and unforgiving worldview.
And her retort exposes class tensions in the food world that sadly mirror those in society at large. You can almost imagine Bourdain and Deen as political candidates, a blue-state paternalist squaring off against a red-state populist over correct living versus liberty in all its artery-clogging, self-destructive glory.
To give him his due: we are too fat and must address that. But getting Deen to unplug the waffle iron doesn’t strike to the core of the problem any more than posting fast-food calorie counts or taxing soft drinks do. A great deal of American obesity is attributable to the dearth of healthy food that’s affordable and convenient in low- and even middle-income neighborhoods, and changing that requires a magnitude of public intervention and private munificence that are unlikely in such pinched times.