Yesterday, Senior Editor Jacob Sullum blogged about the new food pyramid, which is now known as MyPlate. It looks like this:
There's a new exhibit set to open this weekend at the National Archives, which features an early version of the government food recs from World War II. And it looks awfully familiar.
The tone and implications are just as imperious, of course: MyPlate aims to keep Americans from becoming fat and expensive by nagging us to eat our fruits and veggies. The WWII-era "U.S. Government Chart" also wants to fiddle with American eating habits for patriotic purposes. The disc in the center reminds us that "U.S. needs us strong" for doing things like fighting wars and walking purposefully toward the camera. Uncle Sam has no use for the skinny, weak, or Vitamin A deficient.
The bottom taglines are weirdly parallel as well. Both remind viewers that our food choices are our own, even as taxpayer money goes toward trying to get Americans to dine on what the government would prefer they eat. And despite today's periodic crackdowns and the temptation to romanticize a time when butter was its own food group, our plates are more our own now than they were when the second chart came out. Wartime wasn't a good time for food freedom in the 20th century. Just ask anyone who ever had a ration book.