Nanny State

Meddling in Other People's Diets Is 'Fun' and 'Inspiring'


Mark Bittman, who for years wrote "The Minimalist," a useful and entertaining recipe column in the food section of The New York Times, is now an op-ed columnist for the paper. That's too bad, because he was much better at the former job. In an essay that ran in the Sunday edition of the Times, Bittman gets excited about the "fun" and "inspiring" project of taxing Americans into better eating habits. Like Kelly Brownell, who runs the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, Bittman wants to "tax things like soda, French fries, doughnuts and hyperprocessed snacks" while subsidizing "the purchase of staple foods like seasonal greens, vegetables, whole grains, dried legumes and fruit." 

The first problem with this proposal is the notion that people eschew "seasonal greens, vegetables, whole grains, dried legumes and fruit" because they're so expensive. Have you priced a bag of dried legumes lately? Bittman clearly has not, but they typically sell for 50 cents to $1 for a one-pound bag, which according to the label amounts to 13 servings. One would be hard pressed to find a less expensive source of protein. My local Walmart (in Dallas) has fresh mustard greens or collard greens for $1 or so a bunch. Summer fruits (peaches, nectarines, and plums) are going for $1.25 a pound, or less than a quarter per plum. Carrots are 74 cents a pound. Whole wheat tortillas cost $2.50 for 11. But customers are not necessarily filling their carts with these nutritious bargains; many of them are still buying "things like soda, French fries, doughnuts and hyperprocessed snacks"—perhaps because relative price is only one of the factors they consider is deciding what to eat. Although it is much cheaper per serving to buy a bag of potatoes and bake them at home than it is to buy French fries at a fast food restaurant or precut, precooked potatoes for home frying, a lot of people still prefer the fries. Clearly they are willing to pay more for taste and convenience. Yet Bittman complains that "the food industry appears incapable of marketing healthier foods," as if consumer preferences have nothing to do with what companies decide to sell.

That does not mean slapping a tax on politically incorrect foods would have no impact on consumption. But the tax would have to be pretty hefty to steer people away from the products they like, and it would be highly regressive. Bittman says that's not a problem, "since poor people suffer disproportionately from the cost of high-quality, fresh foods," and "subsidizing those foods would be particularly beneficial to them." In other words, forcing people to pay more for the food they want is OK, as long as they can pay less for the food they don't want. 

Who will determine what counts as "junk food" and what the appropriate tax rate is? How will the government make sure people are not evading the tax by making their own junk food at home or buying it in the black market? Is it fair or efficient to make lean, healthy people pay a premium for cookies, ice cream, and potato chips because other consumers do not exercise enough to burn off the calories they ingest? Don't worry, Bittman says: "We have experts who can figure out how 'bad' a food should be to qualify, and what the rate should be." 

But the weakest part of Bittman's argument, since paying the taxes he proposes won't be optional, is his justification for using force to change people's diets. The government simply would be "fulfilling its role as an agent of the public good," he says. Treating diet-related diseases costs money, he adds. "The need is indisputable," he avers, "since heart disease, diabetes and cancer are all in large part caused by the Standard American Diet." Furthermore, "look at the action government took in the case of tobacco." In short, "public health is the role of the government, and our diet is right up there with any other public responsibility you can name, from water treatment to mass transit." So many assumptions, both fiscal and moral, packed into so little space. Bittman does not pause for a moment to consider the vast expanse of human behavior that is subject to government manipulation under his theory of public health.

At her Supreme Court confirmation hearings last year, Elena Kagan dodged the question of whether the Commerce Clause authorizes a law commanding Americans to eat their vegetables. But at least she allowed that it "sounds like a dumb law." Using taxes to achieve the same end is not any smarter; it just sounds that way.

Addendum: In a recent report (PDF) based on 2008 Nielsen Homescan data, the USDA's Economic Research Service calculates the cost of a diet that meets the federal government's nutritional guidelines. It finds that "an adult on a 2,000-calorie diet could satisfy recommendations for vegetable and fruit consumption in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (amounts and variety) at an average price of $2 to $2.50 per day, or approximately 50 cents per edible cup equivalent." Contrary to what Bittman seems to think, price is not the issue.

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  1. You know who else liked vegetables?

    1. Really, every time the food Nazis publish something, the first comment should always be, “Hitler was a vegetarian.”

      1. This historical “fact” is under consistent attack by vegetarians. Check out the discussion/revision pages here

        1. Yeah, that’s bull, since there are all sorts of contemporaneous accounts of him avoiding meat.

          I don’t get being defensive about it. He wore clothes, but I don’t see nudists saying that his clothes-wearing caused his homicidal behavior.

          1. Only because we never thought of that ourselves. Thanks, PL!

            1. Anything to help naked people.

        2. I don’t see where there is any argument.
          Hitler was a vegetarian.

          1. And a nudist, as evidenced by his book, Mein Nacktheit.

    2. Not me.

      1. Me neither. Who the hell are you, Mark?

        1. Dammit! I knew it was an ‘M’ name.

          1. While I refuse to use “LOL” out of principle, this entire exchange indeed made me laugh out loud.

  2. Don’t worry, Bittman says: “We have experts who can figure out how ‘bad’ a food should be to qualify, and what the rate should be.”

    Top. Men.

    1. Even MNG was agin’ it in the Morning Links.

      1. But where does Tony stand? That’s the important thing.

        1. Actually, I am against it. In priciple, I have no problem with using taxes and coercion to mold people into a healthier breed. However, since I spend extra time and money on healthier and more environmentally conscious foods, if everyone were forced to, who would I sneer at? Why do you think I stay in Oklahoma?

          1. Why do you think I stay in Oklahoma?

            For the ass less chaps?

            1. If your chaps have an ass, they’re pants.

          2. For a second there I thought that was the real Tony until I got to the end. Well done.

          3. Re: Tony,

            In priciple, I have no problem with using taxes and coercion to mold people into a healthier breed.

            “I will perfect my own race of people, a race of atomic supermen which will conquer the world.”

            You sure are creepy, Tony.

            1. You are way too gullible.

          4. I have no problem with using taxes and coercion to mold people into a healthier breed

            HOLY. SHIT. TONY.

            1. I know it’s a spoof, but something tells me that’s the underlying logic of Tony’s support for this kind of shit.

      2. But, but, but….what about the ADVERTISING?!?!?!?

        It takes away people’s freedom, you know.

        1. Every time I go to the local tractor pull, there’s always big ads for deep fried hyperprocessed lard, and damn it if I can’t help but go to Wal-Mart and buy a bunch right away.

          1. You Christ-fags are just against everything this administration does.

            1. BECAUSE HE’S BLACK!!!!11!!!!11

          2. Un-hyperprocessed lard, on the other hand

            1. Yeah, it also makes the best carnitas.

              1. Fuck yes.

    2. OOOH! We have EXPERTS to figure this out. I feel better already!

      Are these the same experts who have told us for the last 40 years to eat lots of carbs and starches and cut down on the fat? The ones whose advice is a good roadmap to becoming fat and diabetic?

      They’ll probably get dweebs like Michael Jacobson from CSPI on their panel of “experts.” We’ll all be eating rice and beans and broccoli and farting 24/7. Perfectly healthy foods like eggs, cheese, and whole milk will be prohibitively expensive because they are high in fat.

      1. Bittman himself already injected a lot of anti-meat and anti-fat bias into his article. Just look at his praise for Denmark’s saturated fat tax.

  3. Furthermore, “look at the action government took in the case of tobacco.”

    We warned you. You mocked us. Suck it.

    1. Slopes are never slippery! Ever!

      1. Logical fallacy! Never mind the ample evidence of history and how one infringement is almost always used to justify another. Someone told me once it was a logical fallacy, so even though I don’t know what logical or fallacy mean, I’ll just repeat them together whenever somebody mentions the slippery slope!

        1. That’s about right. It’s only a fallacy if it isn’t fucking true.

          1. Actually there is a logical fallacy called the “slippery slope fallacy” but it’s not the same as the “slippery slope argument” applied to human affairs.

            The fallacy is that if A is true, then a more extreme version of A must also be true.

            The human affairs argument is that people are more likely to accept A if they already accept a less extreme version of A.

            They’re totally different things, really.

            1. The argument is not really even slippery slope. It is more “if logically you can and should do X, why shouldn’t you also do Y which is conceptually very similar?” And the answer is usually “we wouldn’t ever do that” without any real reason why they couldn’t or wouldn’t.

            2. I’ve never heard the slippery slope argument NOT applied to human affairs.

              “If faggots are allowed to marry than next thing you know, blah blah blah, raping children, blah blah blah”

              1. I agree, it’s not a fallacy when applied to human affairs. The increasing acceptance of civil liberties abuse under the WoT demonstrates that.

                1. The WOT civil rights abuses were simply down the slope from the civil rights abuses from the WOD.

            3. It truly is a logical fallacy, but whoever said human affairs were logical?

              1. Slippery slope is more extreme – think if we allow gay marriage then we have to allow plural marriages to then we have to allow human animal unions to … DOGS AND CATS LIVING TOGETHER – MASS HYSTERIA

                1. When I want a slippery slope I just just douse her with baby oil.

                2. The lawsuits to allow plural marriage have already started. It’s OK with me but pretending it’s not next on the slope is disingenuous.

        2. Right. Logic doesn’t even come into it. It is simply an observation of a common trend that can be seen in many different situations.

      2. That’s why I always argue “shifting baselines”. lol

      3. Yes they are. When I get my “masseuse” Feng Liu all oiled up, she damn slippely.

    2. Who could have predicted the fatties were next? Who? Oh…us.

      1. We’re definitely the Cassandra of politics and economics.

        1. So THAT’s why everyone hates Libertarians…

      2. It is always the knuckeldragers on the fringes who are right. Twenty years ago all the right thinking thoughtful people said we would never go after the fatties.

        1. 40 years ago, a punk teenager argued with his Dad, a circuit court judge, that asset forfeiture laws were a bad idea, ripe for abuse. Who’s right now, Dad ?

        2. “The course of every intellectual, if he pursues his journey long and unflinchingly enough, ends in the obvious, from which the non-intellectuals have never stirred.”
          ~Aldous Huxley, in “Point Counter Point”

      3. Fat. It’s the new Black.

  4. Having worked with Mark Bittman in the past, I can honestly say that he is one of the biggest assholes I’ve ever met in my life.

    So I’m not surprised that he’s also a statist scum.

    1. Dish the dirt, sistah! did he dress in a tiger costume? Pant on the phone? Phone his pants?

      Enquiring minds want to know.

  5. Tax what others like, subsidize everything I like. OR Make what others enjoy illegal, but keep everything I like legal. Everything I do is good, and correct and others need to be force to do what I do.

    bla bla bla.

    1. ‘zactly. I like to ask my liberal friends to imagine the government mandating they send their kids to a school that teaches creationism. Inconceivable ! The gov’t would only force people to do the right kind of things.

      1. The gov’t would only force people to do the right kind of things.

        Like go to concentration camps during wartime and take placebos for syphilis.

        1. Hey, a lot of people lost weight in those camps.

  6. Is it fair or efficient to make lean, healthy people pay a premium for cookies, ice cream, and potato chips because other consumers do not exercise enough to burn off the calories they ingest?

    I have always said there should be separate checkout lanes for fatties and non-fatties. If you can fit through the opening to get into the non-fatty lane, you don’t have to pay the fat tax on your junk food.

    1. Gives a whole new meaning to “straw purchase”.

    2. There would be a great black market for skinny people shopping for fatties in return for money.

      1. Those are jobs created or saved.

    3. I’ve always felt that way about scrawny runts. If a person can’t bench, say, at least 200+, they should only be allowed to eat protein bars. While working out.

    4. I like how you and Ricky Gervais think.

      He added: “In supermarkets, the really fattening stuff should be behind a really thin door. Shops should be full of salads, but if you want to get to the pies and cakes, you’ve got to crawl through a little tube.”…..eight.html

      1. He stole the idea for The Office from me, too.

      2. And while they’re crawling through the tube you can shoot them in the head. Then you don’t have to see them anymore.

        1. Too much work. Just have the tube run directly to the soilent green processing plant.

  7. It’s too bad, because I used to like the guy. His book, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is my kitchen bible, and I agree with pretty much all his insights on how to improve one’s diet. It’s too bad he doesn’t just continue to try to persuade people through logic and reason to eat a healthier diet. The problem with guys like him and Michael Pollan is that they are very good at seeing the problem, but their solutions are terrible. I just wish they would both agree to focus on dismantling the subsidies, and quit with the social engineering.

    1. I have the non-vegetarian version. What the fuck would possess someone to think that because he knows how to cook he’s qualified to make food decisions for 310 million people. What a cocksucker.

        1. That’s a great way to stay in shape.

          1. Low carbohydrate too! Mmmm!

            1. Too high in sodium, though. And salt is just as evil as rich people are.

  8. Apparently Bittman needs G-men to tell him to get rid of his triple chins.

    1. What??? Oreo aren’t vegan????

      1. Goddamn “weak aSSed “s” key. Screws it up every time.


      2. they’re kosher

        1. In London, there’s an asswad of fried chicken places – usually with names like “Tennessee Fried Chicken” – and they often have a sign in the window that says “halal”.

          1. BP that is going to become my newest phrase for describing a group of like items! A gaggle of Geese…a flock of birds…a shitheap lawyers…and an asswad of fried chicken places !

    2. He’s one of the anointed. He gets to be as fat as he wants and tell others what to do.

    3. Yeah, for someone who supposedly has insights on a healthy diet, he looks like a fat fuck.

      1. Yes but he’s healthy fat, not unhealthy fat. It’s kinda like cholesterol.

      2. He knows he can’t stick to a healthy diet without a boot on his neck, so it’s boots for everyone.

  9. I wonder sometimes about whether I buy what I actually want to eat or that I’m being programmed by some authority. Then I remember that I’m libertarian and I just buy what I want to eat. Time to get some…tasty legumes.

    1. I love me some rice and bean. But that’s just because I was once poor enough to live off that and peanut butter sandwiches for a couple of years. But fuck this guy if I choose to live that way now that I can afford to eat meat at every meal.

  10. Mark Bittman?bite my sugary, white-bread eating, potato-chip munching, Krispy-Kreme glazed ass.

    1. The Legendary Hot Brown Recipe
      Ingredients (Makes Two Hot Browns):

      ?2 oz. Whole Butter
      ?2 oz. All Purpose Flour
      ?1 Qt. Heavy Cream
      ?1/2 Cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, Plus 1 Tablespoon for Garnish
      ?Salt & Pepper to Taste
      ?14 oz. Sliced Roasted Turkey Breast
      ?2 Slices of Texas Toast (Crust Trimmed)
      ?4 slices of Crispy Bacon
      ?2 Roma Tomatoes, Sliced in Half
      ?Paprika, Parsley
      In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk whipping cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

      For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately.

      1. Damn, that’s looks mighty tasty. Although, tomatoes are nasty things that have no place in my food.

        1. There’s a word for people like you.

          1. Intelligent, reasonable, and tasteful all come to mind.

  11. I eat fairly well, but godammit, somedays I just want a big ol’ Brown Bear burger and a 22oz of Oberon.

    1. Oberon


      1. King Oberon of the Prador?

  12. “””Have you priced a bag of dried legumes lately?””‘

    Yep. The days I buy basic fruit and vegetables, even meat and fish, my grocery bill is low. Its when I buy the processed foods, that is when my grocery bill is high. It is not high food prices which make people fat, since the possessed food is generally higher in price. And the worse thing about the processed food is not its special ability to make people fat, its that people eat too much of it, no matter what the price.

    1. Fear not, subsidizing those dried legumes will bring the price on par with taxed, processed food.

      1. The processed food will just be made out of legumes that were processed in a way so as to concentrate the sugar, probably from sugar peas.

    2. I find the same. But the real food has to be cooked and people are lazy.

      1. Shit, sometimes it doesn’t even have to be cooked. A decent tuna salad requires washing the produce and using a can opener. But that’s even too much for our sedentary culture.

      2. Very true. When we talk “convenience” we really mean laziness.

    3. I try not to eat possessed food, when I can help it. All that flying around in your tummy, the weird daemonic voices, and it gives you a wicked case of the sulfur-smelling shits. Probably makes you fat, too.

  13. Mark Bittman, who for years wrote “The Minimalist,” a useful and entertaining recipe column in the food section of The New York Times,

    Never trust a foodie. All too often, when given the chance, they’re statist fucks. You get the occasional foodie who’s not, but always approach with caution.

    1. The ‘foodie’ label is about the most useful invention of the last decade for knowing who to avoid like the plague.

      1. Damn right…I avoid any men on dating sites that use that word to describe themselves more than any others.

        1. even “lovable teddy bear” ?

          1. If “lovable teddy bear” was combined with “foodie”, I think I’d implode (I love me some lovable teddy bears, but “foodies” can get fucked)

            1. Wait… Now I’m confused. I thought you said that foodies couldn’t get fucked?

              1. Well, maybe they can, but not by me!

            2. Can this lovable teddy bear get fucked?

              1. Anthony Weiner is about as teddy bearish as Rob Reiner is Calvin Klein modelesque.

                1. Yeah, you couldn’t cuddle Weiner. It’d be like snuggling up to a telephone pole.

                  1. Exactly ….

      2. The first time I heard that: I was talking about my love for Vietnamese food… and the guy I was talking to went “Cool! You’re a foodie, too.” I felt a profound nausea. I can’t imagine someone self-adopting that hideous term.

        1. You know who else was a foodie?

          1. No, he was a vegetarian, despite the efforts to deny it by the hippie establishment.

            You cannot legitimately claim to love food and voluntarily refuse to eat the very, very best part of it. It’s like claiming you love sport cars but would never, ever drive anything from Europe.

            1. It’s worse than that, it’s like claiming you love sports cars but would only drive hybrids.

          2. Not me. I hate eating.

            1. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…

        2. I was talking about my love for Vietnamese food

          Too beaucoup! Too beaucoup!

        3. I got food poisoning from bad sweet-and-sour pork when I was in college. I got so sick that it was a year or so before I’d eat rice again, let alone any Chinese food.

          The cuisine that cured me of my anti-Asian stomach five years later? Vietnamese.

          1. Kind of the same thing happened to me, only it was 32 ounce margaritas. For about a year, just the smell of tequila made me feel sick. Luckily, I fought through it.

            1. Tequila will always be there, waiting for you to puke it up in some insane situation that could only be scripted by crazed Mexican agave farmers.

      3. Great definition of “foodie” at Urban Dictionary:

        A douchebag who likes food.

        Douchebag – “I’m a big foodie.”
        Non-doucher – “Really? I like food too, but I’m not a tool.”

    2. That being said, I was at an Anthony Bourdain event (high foodie attendee ratio) and in the “open mike” period someone asked if he ever wanted to stroll over and bitch-slap Bittman now that he’s writing preachy-ass op-eds. Massive, sustained applause.

      1. I was upset when Bourdain apologized for his Khmer Rouge comment. He should have reiterated it.

        1. I missed that one (although I did see the episode) – what did he say?


            Last question.

            1. He’s right, Alice Waters is obnoxious.

              1. I’ve gotta agree.

            2. YEah, I don’t see a problem with what he said.

            3. I agree too.

    3. hey now, I consider myself a bit of a foodie in that I like to go out for some really expensive yet delicious top self eats now and then as well as occasionally splurging on those $150 bottles of wine. But then I also think taco flavored doritos are genius level food engineering and love me some pulled pork on white bread. But I’m certainly not some elitist, statist, locavore douchebag.

      1. This is really what separates you from foodie douchery.

        I’m a cook in a fine dining establishment, I love foie and truffles, I enjoy conversing about food, and from time time blowing a pay check on a 15 course tasting. However, at the end of a long night, what do I really want? A greasy bar burger and some whiskey and an establishment most foodies avoid like the plague.

      2. But then I also think taco flavored doritos are genius level food engineering

        You meant pizza-flavored, right?

        1. no the altered old school taco flavor that was discontinued, horribly resurrected, killed, and resurrected again with what is supposed to be the 1980’s spice mixture unfortunately without the old machines that would produce “superchips” almost grotesquely covered in spice mix.

    4. “Never trust a foodie NYT writer. All too often, when given the chance, they’re statist fucks. You get the occasional foodie NYT writer who’s not, but always approach with caution.

    5. I like to call it the smug diet — people who think their dietary choices are more virtuous, like the post above mine (I’m Fedya) who starts off “without judging people” and immediately begins to judge people.

      And of course doesn’t get it when I call him on it.

    6. There are many libertarian foodies who favor the freedom to purchase raw milk, etc.

      Here’s just one.

  14. The first problem with this proposal is the notion that people eschew “seasonal greens, vegetables, whole grains, dried legumes and fruit” because they’re so expensive. Have you priced a bag of dried legumes lately? Bittman clearly has not, but they typically sell for 50 cents to $1 for a one-pound bag, which according to the label amounts to 13 servings

    This is a concept that, like aspertame, doesn’t seem to go away, no matter how large the mountain of evidence that disproves it.

    I had to dress down a Seattle Times reporter for making the same claim about five years ago. She claimed that healthful foods were oh-so expensive and no one could afford them. For something like $10 I gave her a recipe I made up full of healthful ingredients that fed four people and had leftovers. And it contained top sirloin…

    Top… sirloin…

    1. I lol’ed out loud.

    2. I was listening to NPR the other day and they had a thing on the Italian diet. Originally the whole med diet was discovered by a US Army nutritionist who was in Italy in World War II and noticed the peasants there never had heart disease. NPR gave a sop story about how the Italians are now all fat because they can only afford “the industrialized diet” and not the old healthy peasant diet.

      1. NPR and their ilk fail to realize that old school diets like that require hours (sometimes days) of preparation and cooking. I dunno about anyone else, but the bulk of my day is taking up EARNING A FUCKING LIVING.

        1. And women used to stay home and raise their kids. I doubt NPR would be too willing to sign on to the “leave the women in the kitchen so we can eat healthy” diet plan.

          1. If I could stay home, cook, clean, chase the kiddos and mess around at my desk/workbench, I’d totally marry a careerwoman and have dinner on the table every night.

            1. So would I. Careers suck. God did feminists sell women a bill of goods.

              1. Nooooo shit! Except the cleaning part ain’t really my bag. And the taking care of kids – don’t like that notion very much either. Cooking is fun, but it’s not easy to whip up a gourmet meal in a filthy kitchen, so that’s out. I’ll take the puttering in the workshop, though.

            2. My future… *sigh* Once Lady Humungus gets going, I shall retire from being the Ayatollah of Rocka Rolla.

              1. Can I take over as warrior of the wasteland?

            3. My goal in life is to marry up, and preferably way up, to a high-powered career woman with education, skill, ambition and serious earning power.

              I remember when some hippie feminist said that her husband was enlightened because he was “thrilled that she made more than he did”.

              I thought to myself, “Oh, he’s enlightened, just not the way you think he is…”

              As P.J. O’Rourke said, why do you think we need a triple Vodka Gimlet when we come home from the office… because of all that “prestige”?

              1. I prefer the gin gimlet, but then, I’m a woman.

            4. Brett, can you please have a talk with my BF and tell him how wonderful and masculine that lifestyle would be?

              1. Do you have kids yet? Because if not, he’s wasting a perfect opportunity to build that hotrod/learn the guitar/start a home distillery. Seriously, daily housework takes (IIRC from my teenage summers when it was my responsibility) about 20 minutes top if you do it daily. There is so much time for goldbricking, even with kids.

                1. Nope, no kids, which is probably the only way this really happens. And though I think it would run a little more than 20 min if you count groceries/cooking, that’s still plenty of time for home brewing, shooting, wtf-ever. Damn, I just end up making myself jealous thinking about it.

            5. T-21 days until I “retire” and do the stuff on that list plus home schooling.

        2. No, it’s easy. I just go to the Holy Land Deli on NE Central and get a bunch of stuffed grape leaves, Kalamata olives, f?l medammis, Greek feta, pita bread and dates.

          4 very healthy meals. No cooking. $20.

    3. yeah fresh produce is expensive if you only ever shop at whole foods or gelsons. Everywhere else, it’s totally affordable.

      1. Find the local international food store. You’ll know you’re in the right place if you’re the only white person in the store (if you are a white person). You will easily quadruple your purchasing power.

        1. did that a long time ago, and i can even walk to it. But then nobody walks in LA.

          1. Our local one is awesome, though I’ll admit the fish section stinks something awful. I’d never buy meat there but everything else is fair game.

            1. I’d never buy meat there but everything else is fair game.

            2. Our local one has an awesome meat and deli counter, but i don’t do seafood there at all.

        2. Yes, this. Unfortunately there aren’t any near enough to walk to here, but when Worked in SF’s Mission District …

  15. I have a cunning plan. You know how vegetarians come up with vegetarian alternatives of meat dishes? Like tofu “meat” and shepherd’s pie without the shepherd? Why not turn the tables and do a cookbook with meat versions of traditionally vegetable-based dishes? Like a salad of shredded pork or hammus (ham instead of garbanzo beans) –that sort of thing?

    1. That would be a cunning stunt.

      1. As cunning as a fox who’s just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University?

        1. So cunning you could brush your teeth with it.

          1. I dont’ get it, he admitted with uncharacteristic modesty.

      2. I see what you did there.

      3. But to do so would make one a stunning cunt.

    2. I actually do that all the time, because I’m a protein hound, so I figure out ways to substitute meat for carbs.

      1. I think we found our author, folks!

        Welsh rabbit. . .with rabbit.

        Green beings.


        And so on.

      2. Didn’t KFC already go down this road…with deep fried chicken breast sandwiched between two slices of….deep fried chicken breast. And bacon too…not that there’s anything wrong with that!

        1. That’s just a small sampling of what could be done. Popcarne!

          1. I’ve had pig skin popcorn before. It’s not a new concept. It just needs to be consolidated in one book.

            1. The pig rules… popcorn, even? What part of that glorious animal isn’t amazing to eat?… I mean if you’re not Jewish or Muslim or a Warmist.

              1. Eyeball maybe? I could never get past the texture of eyeballs.

    3. Mmmmm… hummus. NEED PITA!

    4. Already done:

      Haut Dish in Minneapolis makes Homemade Tofu, Smothered in Meat Sauce.

      1. There’s a Chinese takeout place in Tallahassee that has the Monk’s Special vegetarian meal. Served by default with pork fried rice. I loved that. My vegetarian gf at the time did not see the humor.

    5. I believe the taco salad is the keystone of this philosophy.

    6. You mean something like this.

  16. Eh, compared to Jamie Oliver he’s pretty mild.

  17. Don’t worry, Bittman says: “We have experts who can figure out how ‘bad’ a food should be to qualify, and what the rate should be.”

    If they are even half as qualified as the experts we have safeguarding our national security or pulling the levers of the economy, I can’t see what could possibly go wrong.

    1. Considering the govt’s track record with the food pyramid I’d like to know WTF he’s smoking. It sounds good in theory but in reality any federal nutrition standards are going to be heavily influnced by Big Agro.

  18. If this were made into law, people who consume a lot of junk food would continue consuming at the same levels. Effectively, this would just be a big transfer of wealth from the poor and the working class to the target demographic of the NYTimes. The real question becomes: is this a feature or a bug?

    1. Not to mention that the real problem is that people in impoverished neighborhoods don’t have any store that sells veggies or fresh fruit in the first place. No, don’t mean that they don’t have a Whole Foods, I mean not even a Food Lion. Just the local Ghetto Mart and McDonalds. So yes, it’d hurt them the most financially, which makes it a stupid idea. Regressive taxes are regressive taxes, and should be avoided as much as possible.

      1. They don’t have those stores, because they’re too stupid/lazy to buy healthy food. When supermarkets move into those neighborhoods, they inevitably go out of business.

        1. Right, it’s not the backward zoning laws or regulations, it’s poor people=stupid and lazy.

          1. There are zoning laws keeping grocery stores out of poor neighborhoods?

            I’m trying to vizualize how they’re worded.

          2. No, real grocery stores don’t open in the ‘hood because of shrinkage and theft. Grocery stores don’t have a lot of margin, so it doesn’t take much to tip one over into unprofitability.

            1. Not true. When Walmart wanted to build a superstore in Inglewood, next door to Los Angeles, the lefties came out in droves to protest. You can bet that Walmart would have had more quality food selections than the aforementioned “ghetto marts”.

              1. My local Walmart sells free range organic chicken eggs – something I have never seen in my local Safeway. I love telling my lefty food snob concerntroll friends that.

          3. If zoning laws or regulations are the problem, I’m all for removing them.

        2. Well, as I said, I used to work in SF’s Mission District, and I routinely saw obese (disproportionally black) folks walk past not only the Asian and Latino groceries I mentioned, but also the large, well-stocked Safeway, heading for either McD’s or BK.

          Yes, there *is* a “food desert” problem in some places. I lived for seven years in a rented cottage where the corner store was called “Bottoms Up Liquors” and the only way for me (carless) to get produce that didn’t look as though it had been sitting there for ten days was either to take two buses each way and transfer, or take one bus, but walk a mile each way. (Then a Trader Joe’s opened, and life got a lot better. It was only one bus, but practically door to door.)

          Another and practically contrary anecdote, for those who know Berkeley at all: Where the Berkeley Bowl is now, there used to be a Safeway. It was maybe six blocks from my then-current job, and so I’d often stop there on the way home before catching the bus. That was the crowdedest damn Safeway you ever saw. Trouble was, it was crowded with poor people, people living around the Ashby BART station, and they weren’t buying the pricey stuff. So Safeway closed it, and after a time Berkeley Bowl bought it.

          Not knocking Berkeley Bowl at all (cheaper than Whole Foods, for sure, and I went there all the time), but the idea that poor people *as such* just don’t want fresh produce, &c., is nuts. Sometimes people don’t have access to it; sometimes the access they do have is intimidating (try going into an “international” grocer for the first time and see if it doesn’t scare you out of your wits); sometimes they really just prefer junk food, and all the dangling of arugula and red lentils and Kashmiri peppers before their noses you can think of will get you nowhere.

          1. In other words, they’re individuals! *shocked*

            1. Yep. Just that.

      2. i have lived in impoverished neighborhoods in Los Angeles for almost the last 20 years, and except for a couple years after the riots when the supermarkets had been burned down and there really was only one grocery store left standing, I have never experienced a so-called food desert. I’ve lived or had a SO that lived in Rampart, South Central, Inglewood, Boyle Heights, and Cypress Park. Excepting the notable absence of Watts, that’s the fucking hit parade of impoverished neighborhoods.

        1. Wow dude. Do you live there because you like adventure?

          1. Naw those places aren’t as crazy as tv would lead you to believe. Plus the rent is cheap. Most, except for the last two were for proximity to school. Boyle heights because I had a bitchin’ huge artist loft for less than a dollar/sqft and held on to that for over a decade. Now I’m just a gentrifier, lol. But seriously you get used to the gunfire and it’s fun to play “name that caliber”.

          2. Although seeing the tumbleweave with a piece of scalp still attached after a ho fight across the street at the pimp/crackdealer’s house was pretty crazy. But I had warned my GF about that neighborhood before she decided to move there, so that wasn’t my fault for being over there.

            1. oh and technically I’m Cypress Park adjacent right now living in Mount Washington which is pseudo-posh. However, I live right on the border on the wrong side of the hill and I don’t technically qualify for the Mount Washington school district. And my neighbors have a fucking rooster and almost monster trucks.

  19. Someday, all you ungrateful cracker-assed punks are going to eat what I damn well TELL you to eat.

    1. You look like a horse.

      1. Don’t you dare backsass “The First Trapezius”!

  20. Second person arrested for beating man with hammer

    Baldwinsville Police have arrested a second man in connection with a hammer attack.

    Police have arrested 26 year-old LeVaughn McArthur of Syracuse. McArthur has been charged with 1st degree assault, burglary, and attempted robbery, among other charges.

    No dogs were beaten with hammers. Nothing else happened.…..?id=609336


    2. The cops didn’t shoot any dogs or old men or children this time. What do you want, a fucking cookie because they did what they were supposed to do for a change?

    3. I’m certainly not one of those who thinks everything the cops ever do is bad, but, of course, the problem is that if we let them get away with abuses of power, even if rare, we’re in big trouble. Unfortunately, such abuses are all too frequent, and we likely only hear about a small percentage of the total.

      That all said, you could do the same exact thing with the Nazis. The Nazi government did legitimate things, too, particularly domestically. Pointing out all of their good works doesn’t diminish what they did wrong.

      1. I made the trains run on time!* In Italy!

        *Not really.

        1. That’s not where I was going. My point is that there were some generic government things that didn’t involve killing Jews or any of the other Nazi horrors. But using those as examples of general Naziness kind of avoids why the Nazis were so horrific.

      2. It’s a petulant little argument our passive-aggressive troll is engaging it. It is saying that Reason, by focusing on the mis-deeds of the police, is being somehow unfair by not equally reporting on the time the police do the job they are paid to do. It’s an illegitimate complaint on a lot of levels.

        1. It ignores the fact that the vast majority of the media either outright ignores police mis-deeds, or downplays it as an aberration–something that Balko’s work has proven not to be true.

        2. The supposed hidden nature of “good” policework is undercut by the fact that it keeps posting stories already available on-line.

        3. Trolling threads over and over about the same thing means that it is not a complaint about the media, but about Reason coverage in particular. What would satisfy it? That Reason post every story about the police that appears anywhere as some sort of balance? That’s impossible. What it wants is for Reason not to report on police brutality, murders, thefts, and mis-deeds whatsoever. Which means it doesn’t think any of those things are a problem, or just doesn’t care that they are… which makes it a moral idiot.

        1. I’m sure the Klan did some nice things, too, like charity benefits for white people.

    4. Re: Another Isolated Incident,

      Yet Another “Isolated” Incident

      Clarence Dupnik’s Death Squad

      If Tucson resident Jose Guerena was plausibly suspected of narcotics trafficking, why wasn’t he arrested on his way to or from his job at the nearby Asarco Mission copper mine? What justified a military assault on his home, when investigators knew that they could have executed a conventional search warrant?

      Jose was never charged with a crime. In a previous encounter with police he consented to a search of his vehicle. In an separate traffic stop, Jose was a passenger in a car in which police found a handgun and a trivial amount of marijuana; he was arrested and subsequently released without being charged with a crime. He was an honorably discharged Marine combat veteran and — of infinitely greater importance — a gainfully employed, married father of two children.

      There’s no reason to believe that anything other than a conventional search warrant — served by officers who aren’t kitted out in paramilitary drag, who knock on the door, identify themselves, and display the document in question before gaining entry — was either necessary or appropriate. This could have been done with minimal risk to everyone involved.

      If a routine search warrant had been executed on the morning of May 5, the substantive result would have been the same: The police would have found no evidence of criminal activity. The most important difference, of course, would be that Vanessa would still have a husband, and her children — grade school student Jose, Jr. , and toddler Joel — would still have their father. Instead, Jose was a victim of criminal homicide at the hands of a Pima County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) SWAT team.

      Once more the overreaction of a local thuggery squadron (what people call with a despicable sense of humor: police) contributes to the death of yet another innocent man.

      It’s the kind of “incident” that Mr. “Isolated Incident” here prefers to ignore.

    5. You’re like shooting retards in a barrel!

      Getting Rowdy: N.C. Officer Traps and Shoots Neighbor’s Five Month Kitten . . . Seeks To Be Reinstated as Police Officer

      Nothing else happened.…..e-officer/

  21. “Mommy, mommy, mommy! Get me the McLentil happy meal, with jicama fries!”

    “Which toy do you want, the Bittman Action figure or the CSPI ‘Help the Hamburglar find his missing yam’ maze?”

    “Aw, are they out of First Lady Unfun Balls?”

    “Just eat you wheat paste, dear”

    1. Ooh! Ooh! I see the yam! It’s right between the hippie drum circle and the douchebag yuppies paying $15 for an organic carrot at Whole Foods!

    2. I would love to see the meltdown people would have if they ever did a cartoon about Michelle Obama like this one.…..ezza-rice/

  22. The guy’s an idiot. When I was a poor college student I would buy those one pound bags of dried legumes. It’s amazing what you can do with some spices and lentils. Throw in some generic brand canned veggies and a few apples or bananas, and you have a cheap and reasonably healthy diet.

    As for marketing, has he even looked in the average grocery store recently? Fruits and vegetables in every variety of packaging, from fresh artistically arranged in displays, to fresh-prepared ready to go for the lunch bag, to fancy jars of grapefruit and bags of pre-shredded cabbage. In a much larger variety than even a decade ago.

    Far from being some nutritional wasteland, eating cheaply and healthy in America has never been easier.

    1. For a middle class person in a medium size metro area or larger, you’re right. For rural areas and poor neighborhoods? Not so much. Ex., there’s not a single real, full-size grocery store within the city limits of Detroit.

      1. within the city limits of Detroit.

        Well, there’s your problem.

        1. Is life possible within the city limits of Detroit? I thought it was barren, like the Moon.

          1. Try finding some dope or whores on the Moon. Now try avoiding same in Detroit.

            1. I bet the Moon is full of whores and dope. That might explain why our government chose not to go there for forty years.

          2. Click on the supermarket link I posted below. Have you ever seen a supermarket lot this empty during the day?

      2. there’s not a single real, full-size grocery store within the city limits of Detroit.

        Apparently there is, it’s just that no one goes there.

        1. There’s a Curves, too! That place has everything for the plump, middle-aged woman.

        2. Yeah but is it serviced by light rail?

      3. One of the grocery stores I usually go to is in a relatively poor “ethnic” neighborhood. I find no difference between it and the one of the same chain in my mom’s rural town.

  23. The scare thing about this shit? 49.7% of the public thinks this is a good idea.

  24. If the dumb fuck agrees to eat shit for a year, we’ll talk.

  25. “How are ya !”

    1. In all seriousness.

  26. Dear dieticians, nutritionists, and Mark Bittmans:

    Have you noticed that women as a group get inundated with the message, “Be thin, or you’ll have zero worth as a human being! Here’s a recipe for spinach salad with low-fat dressing!” Even with that kind of social pressure, plenty of us are still flabby or jiggly or Rubensesque or whatever the hell you want to call us. You really think a price hike on that tub of Blue Bell we already feel guilty about is going to work as food policy lipo?

    Someone has clearly failed to grok human nature.

    Your proposed incentive structure is stupid. Find another one.

    No love,

    1. Was anyone else upset when Kim Kardashian lost all that weight?

      1. Re: Paul,

        Was anyone else upset when Kim Kardashian lost all that weight?

        What??? How could she!!!

        Anyway, I believe her sister Kourtney has a much better and balanced body than Kim.

        1. I’m not really a ‘balance’ kind of guy.

          1. Re: Paul,

            I’m not really a ‘balance’ kind of guy.

            Oh, no question she’s a babe. When it comes to the question “who would I be able to lift and hold by the bottom,” for me there’s no question.

      2. Can’t say that I was. But I remember hearing Christina Hendricks had lost weight and saying, “Oh my god, don’t let it be true!”

        And it wasn’t. You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you’ll find Christina Hendricks gives you what you need.

        1. If Christina Hendricks lost weight, that would be like Superman giving up his power.

          1. She makes me so happy. *sigh*

            1. Is there something you’d like to tell us, Ashlyn?

              1. Fat women make her feel better about herself?

        2. I’ll be in my bunk.

  27. The first problem with this proposal is the notion that people eschew “seasonal greens, vegetables, whole grains, dried legumes and fruit” because they’re so expensive. Have you priced a bag of dried legumes lately? Bittman clearly has not, but they typically sell for 50 cents to $1 for a one-pound bag, which according to the label amounts to 13 servings.

    No, you don’t udnerstand – Bittman is not talking about the kind of veggies that the icky and gooey poor people buy. He is talking about mandating that everybody buys and eats the organic variety that he obtains from the local farmers’ markets… you know, the kind that almost deserves a luxury tax on them.

    Clearly they are willing to pay more for taste and convenience. Yet Bittman complains that “the food industry appears incapable of marketing healthier foods,” as if consumer preferences have nothing to do with what companies decide to sell.

    The same point that MNG naively makes in the H&R morning posts and Bittman makes here, and the same answer I gave to MNG: It is not like the companies have a CHOICE here. Ever heard of ‘consumer sovereignty’, fellas???

    In short, “public health is the role of the government, and our diet is right up there with any other public responsibility you can name, from water treatment to mass transit.”

    Yes. We’re all children now, and the State is Our Father.

    And we shall love the State as such. Heil!

  28. If you don’t like “junk food”, then don’t eat it.

  29. Don’t worry, Bittman says: “We have experts who can figure out how ‘bad’ a food should be to qualify, and what the rate should be.”

    Bittman is not the first nor will he be the last (unfortunately) who will keep beating the millenia-old horse of the “Philospher Kings.”

    One thing we can all be sure of: Bittman is NO Plato. Not even close.

    1. Next thing you know, you crazy old neo-Confederate racist fear-monger, you’ll be telling us we’re going to have people dictating to us what haircuts and clothing to wear, as if THAT’S ever happened!

      Oh, wait…

      1. the healthcare justification for regulating haircuts is pretty obvious.

        For clothes, a bit more murky, but “the State Approved jumpsuit facilitates better weight monitoring” should be sufficient.

    2. He ain’t even Vezzini.

  30. Bittman!

  31. These two food additives are largest cause in weight and heart problems

    High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)a non natural processed food additive that is a huge problem in weight control. It has been shown in a university of Pennsylvania study to cause weight gain. They tested rats and found that an equivalent amount of calories in regular sugar a vrs HFCS show that rats gains weight twice as fast on HFCS. Additionally the rats did not feel satiated after the HFSC like they would with sugar and they continued to eat excessively. The University of Penn study was attacked by the corn syrup industry and the industry is now asking the FDA to change their name in labels from HSFC to corn sugar to hide the fact that they are placing this garbage in our foods. When shopping for groceries it is hard to find any product that does not contain HFCS. Americans on average consume 35 pounds of HFCS a year. Coke and most other sodas use HFCS. As a matter of fact Coke did a fast switch when they went from old Coke to new Coke and back to old coke. It never tasted the same because the switched sugar for HFSC.
    A second additive is called partially hydrogenated oils. Crisco is one of the biggest producers who started it since the oil does not spoil like natural oils. This Frankenstein oil is created by taking regular oil and adds some hydrogen atoms to create something that the human body/nature has never seen. It is directly linked to heart attacks since it is known to cause inflammation and thus cholesterol buildup in the arteries. This stuff is in virtually every food product that we consume since it does not spoil (because microbes can’t easily consume it) and is hard to get away from. It has also been shown to cause insulin resistance i.e. contribute to diabetes. The industry got a break from the FDA when they can claim 0% Transfats the labels if it is less than 5 grams of Transfats (partially hydrogenated oil) per serving. So this industry reduced the serving size so they can meet the 5% cutoff.
    These two unnatural man made food additives are everywhere in our diet and that is why so many of us are getting fatter and are suffering from massive amount of heart disease. The FDA will not do anything about it since they are a captured agency and if they try then mouth pieces for the industry will call the FDA dictators or food f?hrers of our diet or scream they are taking away our freedom. Actually the FDA would be taking toxic agents out of our diets which is what the FDA was created to do.

    1. So… we need to make those illegal, then? Is that what you’re saying?

      Because, if not… you’re just blathering.

      1. As long as we’re not banning Karo. If I can’t have a pecan pie every once in a while, I’ll get violent.

    2. Actually the largest cause in weight and heart problems is that people eat far more calories than they use.

      Food doesn’t kill people, people kill people.

      1. My sister-in-law cooks with wholewheat grains, healthy fruits and vegetables, along with expensive cheeses, etc. However, she is BIG compared to Lady Humungus who eats sensibly, but still enjoys steak, burgers and whatnot.

        The difference is quantity of food and exercise. Surprise!

      2. I think your civilization has arrived at the top when one of your biggest problems isn’t famine, but that the population has too many calories to choose from.

    3. You know, it probably speaks well of the commentariat that it took this long to get an HFCS/[CHEMTRAILS!!@] post.

    4. The Princeton HFCS study had terrible methodology and the results have not been repeated in later studies.

    5. HFCS? check

      transfats? check

      corpurashuns? check

      freedom is slavery? check

      crude, unsophisticated trolling? check

    6. *When shopping for groceries it is hard to find any product that does not contain HFCS.*

      You think so? I made a seriously unhealthful (i.e., decadent, once in a while only) meal the other day. Contents, in toto: ground beef, mozzarella, pancetta, peanut oil, butter, russet potatoes, sea salt, pepper, fresh tomatoes, fresh onions, fresh lettuce, Worcestershire sauce, certified HFCS-free hamburger buns.

      IOW, stuffed pan-broiled hamburgers and homemade French fries. Good for me? Probably not; I made it this time because I tried it out when my husband was out of town and thought it was good enough that he should try it too.

      Difficult? No. Time-consuming? The fries, yes, because you have to fry them twice at different temps; the burgers, pathetically easy.

      No HFCS and no partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil in sight.

      I know a recipe for slow-cooked pork chops that involves nothing but pork, tomatoes, sage, flour, salt & pepper, and butter. I know another (same cookbook) that involves a chicken, two lemons, salt, and pepper. Make that with some sauteed broccoli and some roasted potatoes (or rice, or whatever starchy thing you want), and you’re set for a couple days. I just ran across a buttermilk biscuit recipe that makes four biscuits in 30 minutes, and that includes preheating the oven to 450.

      The *only* reason to run into either HFCS or trans fats is because you’d rather someone else cook for you.

      Time was, Crisco and like products were touted as the healthful alternative to (ew!) lard. I think lard may actually have the scientific edge now.

  32. These two unnatural man made food additives are everywhere in our diet and that is why so many of us are getting fatter and are suffering from massive amount of heart disease.

    Of course. Because gray areas in science are for chumps, policy debates are for schucks, and failure to act is 100 percent proof of regulatory capture.

    Conviction that one is absolutely right is the sign of a zealot.

    1. I also like how fructose became “unnatural”.

      1. Interesting, wasn’t that? Fructose when I was in high school was the sugar naturally found in fruit. (And fruit was *good.*) Fructose attached to glucose via an ether bond was what we knew as “table sugar.”

  33. The whole point of this country is if you want to eat garbage, balloon up to 600 pounds and die of a heart attack at 43, you can! You are free to do so. To me, that’s beautiful.

  34. Also, article in The Atlantic bemoaning Campbell’s return to regular sodium soups. Which I might actually start buying again. Because that low sodium stuff was shit. Why pay Campbell’s prices for watery tasting soup?

    1. I always wondered how many people took a spoonful of the low sodium soup, and reached for the salt shaker.

      Probably winding up with more salt than if they had just started with the regular soup.

      1. Did you really have to wonder? Low-sodium V8 FTL. Holding your thumb on the can and trying to shake-in the added salt is bullshit.

    2. Do the people at the Atlantic have impulse control issues that prevent them from, I don’t know, not buying these soups?

      1. But the korperashuns aren’t being socially responsible!!! All of the quotations in the article read as though nobody was buying their shitty loso soup, so it didn’t matter how little sodium it had.

    3. Well, you know, you could just season it yourself. Or, better, make your own soup, which will suck less. (I don’t have it in for Campbell’s, but for less money and more time you can do way better, assuming you don’t mind freezing stuff.)

  35. Have you priced a bag of dried legumes lately? Bittman clearly has not, but they typically sell for 50 cents to $1 for a one-pound bag, which according to the label amounts to 13 servings. One would be hard pressed to find a less expensive source of protein. My local Walmart (in Dallas) has fresh mustard greens or collard greens for $1 or so a bunch. Summer fruits (peaches, nectarines, and plums) are going for $1.25 a pound, or less than a quarter per plum. Carrots are 74 cents a pound. Whole wheat tortillas cost $2.50 for 11.

    Ah, well there’s your problem. I’ve got a strong feeling Bittman would sooner pursue a career in the competitive hot dog eating leagues than set foot into a Walmart.

  36. I guess I am in the minority here, but I always liked Bittman’s Minimalist stuff. I found my favoritest ever recipe for brussels sprouts from Bittman (brussels sprouts sauteed with bacon, balsamic vinegar and black Mission figs). That recipe single-handedly ended a lifetime of confirmed brussels sprouts hate and became a fall/winter staple for me.

    Stuff like that actually adds value to the world and your beloved fellow comrades’ lives, Mark. Joining the chorus of nannies and regulators does the opposite.

    1. No, even the author of the article gave him a little praise for his minimalist work. I agree. He has lots of great, simple, tasty recipes.

  37. It finds that “an adult on a 2,000-calorie diet could satisfy recommendations for vegetable and fruit consumption in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (amounts and variety) at an average price of $2 to $2.50 per day, or approximately 50 cents per edible cup equivalent.”

    That doesn’t take into account the value of the time spent preparing the food from the very basic ingredients they’re probably assuming. Good luck if you’re working two jobs.

    1. Yeah, because cooking is so fucking hard, Commodore. Why, some pasta with butter, salt, peccorino romano, and parsley must take at least 10-12 minutes to make, what with all the boiling of water and whatnot.

      Claims that you can’t make food while busy are fucking retarded, unless you yourself are a cooking retard.

      1. Yeah but some people hate cooking. And they make the rational choice to spend more money and maybe be less healthy to eat out.

        1. If you hate cooking, that’s your problem; it doesn’t change the fact that cooking is easy, so you can’t use “cookin iz hardz” as your excuse.

          1. I think the people who like to whine about how hard it is to cook healthy food for their kids are in actuality likely to be lazy fucks who can’t be bothered to parent their kids and don’t you understand that Little Skyler just doesn’t like vegetables?

            Both my parents worked, but they cooked (terribly) every night and you couldn’t leave the table until you’d eaten your (gross, overcooked) vegetables. It’s not that hard. And for anyone less worse at cooking than my parents, it would be even easier.

            1. I wonder if a disinclination toward expending effort has any correlation with their attendant poverty. Nah, it’s all bad luck and racism.

              1. Look, if you can’t be bothered to make your own rouxs, you deserve what you get.

                1. Not all of us descend from filthy wops who understand that olive oil and garlic make things taste good, ok?

                  Oh, and in addition to being Canadians of Irish/Scottish heritage, my parents hit the trifecta of unappetizing food by deciding to go vegetarian. Mmm, delicious tofu casserole, dad.

                  1. Hey, I went to middle school with daily sandwiches of bean sprouts, grated carrot, and grated mozzarella. Not as bad as the case of the poor woman featured on NPR this morning whose middle-school lunch was homemade liverwurst on homemade pita bread, but still …

                    Tofu is fine — so long as you marinate it in something that has some sort of flavor. Else, no thanks.

                2. awww c’mon you can always get by with a little beurre blanc without going full roux.

            2. I always hated tax season because then my dad would take over kitchen duty. My mother could get home at 6:00 and have a good meal ready to go by 7:00. My dad was highly inconsistent, but we would always have either pasta or meat and grain and vegetable no matter what. Now dad’s refried spaghetti was a thing of beauty. I don’t mean to say he couldn’t cook. He just didn’t care to practice.

            3. But Dagney, that would require them to be adults. And sorry but we just don’t do that kind of thing anymore. Instead we act like children and try to be friends with our children.

            4. Our kids eat the dinner their mother prepares or nothing. Somehow the oldest eats her vegetables at four years old, imagine that.

        2. I hate working. Still gotta do it.

      2. Cooking is mostly long. 5-10 minutes of prep (tops) and then 15-30 minutes of stirring on occasion. If you can multitask by reading a book or doing light chores or having a conversation with your housemates/SO/kids, it flies by.

        1. having a conversation with your housemates/SO/kids,

          That’s crazy talk.

        2. Or teach them to cook and use a knife so they can help and be in there with you. It isn’t rocket science.

    2. Frozen vegetables are cheap too, and those you just dump into a frying pan and spend 7 minutes stirring them around. Unless you’re going through a drive-through that is directly on your way home, you’d probably spend more time getting fast food.

      1. What is this frying pan you speak of?

  38. For a food fascist, Mark Bittman certainly doesn’t look very fit.

  39. Is it OK if your food is merely “super-processed” rather than “hyper-processed”?

  40. Falls off chair laughing.

  41. Am I the only one who perceives a bit of gayness in this guy’s picture? You don’t get a round mouth from eating square meals. And I don’t mean Ding Dongs. Or, maybe I do mean ding dongs.

    1. Please stop. I think I broke a rib.

  42. Always demonstrating there is no bias in the NYT “Highlighted coments”, the following 2 are the most popular…

    This is incredibly inspiring and creative. If we want to avoid spending billions of dollars in health care for obesity, diabetes and other diet related issues such as heart disease, it is time to start subsidizing healthy food and taxing unhealthy food, and as Mark Bittman points out we already have a great precedent through the tobacco industry regulations. As long as food is produced for profit only, not only is the well-being of citizens at stake. Do we really want to have our taxes sink into a healthcare system for victims of these food related issues that is also highly profit driven? Let’s have our tax money go to the wonderful programs suggested here.

    Healthy food can only come from healthy soils. We at Remineralize the Earth advocate adding finely ground rock dust to fertilize soils, and even increase production to produce healthy nutrient dense foods. You have to eat five apples today to get the same nutrition as one apple in 1965!

    There are millions of tons of byproduct from the aggregate and stone industries that could be be regenerating soils and forests and even contribute to stabilizing the climate on a large scale. And commercial products developing to enter the market. It’s time to start making choices for a healthier quality of life as well as protect the environment.The solutions are there if we have the will to implement them.
    Recommended by 128 Readers

    EnglandJuly 24th, 20117:34 am

    Excellent all around. If only, but expect the food industry to fight back. Hard. Poor people do not have lobbying $, do not have the ear or eye or mind of any legislator, and it will be up to wealthy and influential people in the private sector to make any of this fly.

    I would add that one thing that can be done at the grass roots level is to call for “strikes” – refuse to purchase branded food-like products, refuse to shop in the middle aisles, refuse to eat at fast food/restaurants 6 days/week, and refuse to purchase anything other than fresh whole foods from vending machines. These strategies could be used to help solidify new food choice habits, support consumer movement action, boost morale for those trying to improve the quality of their diets, put a dent in refined/processed food sales, and spur a corporate move toward providing more whole and minimally processed foods.
    Recommend Recommended by 79 Readers

    …. actually there are a fair number of critics in the highlighted comments… but these cheerleaders received the highest ‘recommended’ score from other readers…

    Inspiring indeed

    Best line (before I vomited and had to stop reading…

    or victims of these food related issues that is also highly profit driven

    The fact that the expression “profit driven” is just de facto presented as “Pure Evil!!” is very very NYT

    This one was also hot:

    . Poor people do not have lobbying $

    No! But they do have rich, overpaid progressive Liberal Manhattanites to make their decisions for them now! Hal-lay-luuuuu-jaa!

    1. “As long as food is produced for profit only…”

      When they stop producing food for profit, let me know, I’ll head for my bunker and won’t see you for a few years.

    2. From the Remineralize the Earth website:

      “The product [SuperBiomin] was examined at the University of Vienna under a micropolariscope. It revealed an alteration of the atomic lattice with a regression to orthoclase, a process which generates an electrical potential which changes its polarity each time it is emitted, thus producing plus and minus electricity alternately. Moreover it was discovered that the mineral product has a positive pole, cell membrane stimulating magnetic pulsation termed DIN OD 144. Via the alteration of the atomic lattice, the relatively large amount (approximately 10-15 g per day), which is recommended as a daily food supplement, has an effect on any ionized radioactive particles taken in by the body. It breaks down the high oscillation rate of such particles, thus rendering them innocuous. This effect is also been confirmed by a Russian Institute for Atomic Physics in the Ukraine.”

      All of my bullshit detectors are firing simultaneously, how is that possible?

      1. Apparently the atomic lattices in your detectors have been skewed by non-ionizing polarization due to mineral depletion.

        One or two rocks to the head ought to fix that.

      2. This effect is also been confirmed by a Russian Institute for Atomic Physics

        I can’t decide if that adds or subtracts credibility.

        1. Depends on if it’s the explodey kind of Atomic Physics. The Russians were all right at that aspect of it.

        2. ” a process which generates an electrical potential which changes its polarity each time it is emitted, thus producing plus and minus electricity alternately”

          Yeah, yeah. Even covalent non-polar molecules will form temporary poles via the va der Waals effects. Pretty much every system is regularly shuffling electrons around. Even the ones in equilibrium. Guess what, if n molecules are swapping m electrons between themselves, the net effect in nothing. This reads like someone who had organic chemistry explained to them in 3 easy lessons.

        3. The Russian Institute for Atomic Physics in Ukraine? There’s something wrong there.

          1. Not necessarily.


            …”Of New York”

            It has always been in NY. They explore the science of swedish massages I think.

            At least the Ukraine was nominally ‘Russia’ for a good long while . And then Austrian, then, Russian again, then German, then Polish, and then Soviet… I just glanced over the Wikipedia entry for it, and I still can’t really figure it out. I’m not sure they can either.

            We United Staters have it easy by comparison. Dinosaurs->Indians->British/French/Spanish>REAL AMERICA>The North-American Union

            1. I was thinking more that Ukrainians are not, shall we say, fond of the Russians.

              1. Oh, it depends which one you talk to. There’s a whole minority that’s very pro-Russia…


                its like someone poured vodka all over a bowl of mixed nuts. In fact I think that’s a popular cocktail party recipe over there.

                1. If you’re Ukrainian and pro-Russian, you need to be eating food doused in vodka, because you are seriously confused.

      3. I stopped at “regression to orthoclase.” Well, to be precise, I read to the end of that sentence.

    3. I believe the word is Hal-lay-fuckin-luuuuu-jaa

  43. Well all the really, really cheap healthy food is sold at Walmart, which Liberals would rather not talk about.

  44. Re: Tony,

    In priciple, I have no problem with using taxes and coercion to mold people into a healthier breed.

    “I will perfect my own race of people, a race of atomic supermen which will conquer the world.”

    You sure are creepy, Tony.

  45. No kidding, OM. Progressives like Tony are a good reminder that eugenics, mandatory sterilization of the disabled, and so forth were progressive projects back in the day.

    1. Those are bad things, so I’m pretty sure it was the Republicans that did them.

      1. Bush II traveled back in time to advocate for all those ideas, personally.

  46. If he really wants to help diabetics, the good foods need to be high fat and low carb (like steaks, bacon, cheese, some vegetables) and the bad foods should include things like bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and most fruits.

    It’s hard for non-diabetics to grasp, but pure sugar generally has a briefer effect on blood sugar than does starchy food like bread and rice. It barely matters at all for blood sugar if the starch is whole wheat or not.

  47. FDA says Walnuts are drugs (via Fark)…..s-says-fda

  48. What if we taxed busybodies? Make people get an “advocating messing in other people’s lives” permit. Yeah, there are first amendment concerns, but I’m not sure I care any more.

  49. Does anyone think this Bittman dude has any original ideas? I mean, will he have enough intellectual power to write a second or a third column? Or has he reached his maximum boredom power already?

  50. The one thing you’ve forgotten is that when someone wants to eat all the crap that they like to eat and then gets some sort of chronic disease because there is no nutritive value to their diet, they want someone else to pay for it. Why should I who eat well, pay for the habits of someone who prefers to eat crap that will make them sick all the while knowing that they don’t have to be responsible for making such choices.

    If you were really a libertarian – then you would advocate that people ought to pay for consequences of their behavior.

    In this case, taxation in advance would cover the future cost of the disease. Those numbers are relatively easy to calculate.

    1. My God… could you *be* any more pussy-like, harris?

      1. Seriously, though… how do you propose – within libertarian parameters – to either force or coerce people to eat the way you want them to eat?

  51. Now if the corn/soy/etc. subsidies to producers could be cut off, that’d at least partially accomplish Bittman’s goals of boosting prices of a bunch of sugary things and a strategy which I think the readers of this website would agree with.

    (Of course, such a strategy would be less visible to consumer, which might not cause the same drop in consumption as a “fat tax” might do).

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