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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Pollan

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”*…

 

food

Food pyramids and the like – the sort that have defined how everything from hospital meals to school lunches to Meals on Wheels funding have worked for decades, all over the world – are bastardised, imperfect things, a product of industry lobbying and backroom deals as much as they are of good nutrition science. Every time we link to an article about obesity or food security, it’s a given that these broken guides and the politics and economics around them come up. But for this one, the Canadian government has tried something different, as all those responsible for the report were kept safe behind a DMZ, away from lobbyist influence. It is, its makers claim, a scientifically pure guide to what it is to eat well, and it is radically simple (and no doubt problematic in ways we haven’t really absorbed yet) – almost Michael Pollan’s “not too much, mostly plants” mantra in manual form.  Of course, initial reaction has been a lot of “that’s great, but poor people can’t afford tofu”. But we think guides like this should be idealistic, and if based in good science, they should be seen as a provocation, not pipe dream: “that’s great, but if this is eating well, how do we build the systems that allow everybody to eat this way, and to enjoy it?”…

From the ever-illuminating newsletter Buckslip, an appreciation of Canada’s new nutrition guidelines: “Canada’s Food Guide.”

Contrast with the U.S. healthy eating guidelines, and its “food pyramid.”  For an account of the lobbying that went into those U.S. recommendations, see here and here.

* Michael Pollan

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As we parse prudence, we might spare a thought for James L. Kraft; he died on this date in 1953 (though some sources give the date as September 16).   A wholesale cheese distributor and producer, he patented pasteurized process cheese in 1916.  A  low-cost cheese product that would not spoil, it wasn’t an immediate hit with the public, but the U.S. army purchased over 6 million tins of it during World War I.  During the depression, it became more broadly popular because of its low cost.

james_lewis_kraft source

 

A puppet on a string…

source

The latest performance by Royal de Luxe— the French mechanical marionette street theater company– took place last month in Guadalajara, Mexico as part of the Celebrando el Centenario de la Revolución Mexicana, and featured The Mexican Giant, the dog Xolo and the Little Indian Girl (more photos and video here).  Extraordinaire!

Via the wonderful Laughing Squid.

As look carefully around us for the strings, we might recall that it was on this date in 1962 that Pravda excoriated Western art as degenerate and bourgeois.  Days before, at an exhibiton at the Manege in Moscow, Premier Nikita Khrushchev had attacked the Modernist paintings of Pavel Kuznetsov and Robert Falk, pronouncing them “dog sh*t.” Khrushchev was so revolted by an Ernst Neizvestny sculpture– an Expressionist female nude– that he called the artist a “fag” to his face, then added, “We give ten years for that.”  Undaunted, Neizvetny insisted that the gallery bring him a girl so he could set the dictator straight.

Eliott Erwitt’s famous photo of Nixon “correcting” Khrushchev’s views on Pollack (source)

Know your intellectuals!…

One of the gentlemen above is (American professor and philosopher of social habit) Michael Pollan; the other is (French professor and philosopher of social institutions) Michel Foucault…

Take the test– that is, look at the other pairs of photos– at “Michael Pollan or Michel Foucault?” to see if you can tell them apart!

As we get in touch with our inner structuralist, we might recall that it was on this date in 1885 that another gift from France arrived in the U.S.: it was on this date that year that “Liberty Enlightening the World”– a token of friendship from the French to the U.S. better known as the Statue of Liberty– entered New York Harbor.  Encased in more than 200 crates, the statue was reassembled, placed on its pedestal on (what was then known as) Bedloe’s Island, then dedicated by President Grover Cleveland in October, 1886.

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