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Meet the Guest-Blogger: "Culinary Freedom" Fighter Baylen Linnekin of Keep Food Legal


I'm happy to introduce a guest blogger for this week at Hit and Run.

Baylen Linnekin is the founder and head of Keep Food Legal, a nonprofit that is dedicated to preserving and expanding "culinary freedom," the radical idea that people should be allowed "to grow, raise, produce, buy, sell, cook, and eat the foods of their own choosing." That seems like a simple idea, but as the ever-growing proliferation of bans on everything from lemonade stands to foie gras attests, a group such as Keep Food Legal is needed now more than ever. KFL is not only the first and only organization of its kind, its the only group I've ever heard of that has a spork in its logo. 

A bit about Baylen: He's trained as a lawyer (getting the bad news out of the way first) and worked at the Drug Policy Alliance for a spell. He cofounded the blogs To the People and Crispy on the Outside and has published work in outlets ranging from academic journals to various newspapers to Reason. His most recent article for us, an April 2011 investigation of "The Lobster Underground" and a shadowy figure named "Dr. Claw" was a instant classic, drenched in butter, served on a toasted split-top roll, and salted generously with good-humored outrage at useless regulations that make it harder for cook and customer to come together.

He's also guest-blogged at Hit and Run in the recent past. Go here for his full Reason archive and go here for his official bio. You can follow him at Twitter by going here. And Keep Food Legal by going here.

Back in June, he appeared on Freedom Watch to talk about calls to regulate food advertising to children. Take a look:

NEXT: The Balanced-Budget Amendment Delusion

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  1. His most recent article for us, an April 2011 investigation of “The Lobster Underground”

    I object to any article referencing lobster without a photo of Lobster Girl.

  2. Food prohibition is for our own good. I, for one, welcome the new era of nutrient pills and sustenance bricks.

    1. Rather than make the standard Soylent Green reference, I’ll go for Shepherd Book’s “A man can live on packaged food from here ’til Judgment Day if he’s got enough rosemary.”

  3. KFL is especially important as government policy and propaganda runs contrary to the science and good sense. Small, dense LDL is produced in the bloodstream when you eat sugars and starches, not when you eat protein and fat. Small, dense LDL are the ones that get hung up in arterial wall damage and contribute to artery clogging.

  4. …its the only group I’ve ever heard of that has a spork in its logo.

    Apparently you’re not familiar with the Hermaphroditic Foodee Association.

  5. They both look pro-fast food

  6. Baylen, we need your views on two things:

    (1) Pizza: thin, or Chicago?

    (2) Chili: Stuffed full of random ingredients, or pure and sublime?

    1. (1) Not Chicago. I prefer Neapolitan or New York-style. Lots of good choices for the latter in DC these days. Speaking of which… What are your views on the giant slice?

      (2) I’m with you. Simple chili is good chili. Couple kinds of beans, ground beef, stock, a few chipotle peppers, maybe some oregano and a bayleaf (no relation). Though I firmly believe in protecting the rights of others to befoul chili in whatever manner they see fit, for me random shit on chili is only OK if it’s Cincinnati style.

      1. …and by “latter” I meant “former”.

      2. (1) Not Chicago. I prefer Neapolitan or New York-style.
        (2) I’m with you. Simple chili is good chili.

        I think Baylen has demonstrated his food expertise by getting both questions correct.

        1. Tsp. of fish sauce. Not kidding.

          1. Heretic. Blasphemer.

          2. Having had good results on a variety of secret ingredients, from coffee to high quality honey, I can totally buy that. A small amount of something exotic can really tweak a good chili recipe.

            1. If your chili recipe needs “tweaking”, how exactly is it a good recipe?

      3. What are your views on the giant slice?

        No objections here. Fond memories of first encountering the giant slice (and folding it for proper pie-hole stuffing) shortly after first arriving in Boston lo, these many moons ago.

        Your chili recipe sounds a little . . . busy, to me, but is probably acceptable.

      4. I firmly believe in protecting Epi’s right to make shitty, ignorant, east coast chili with cauliflower, brussel sprouts and valentine conversation hearts.

  7. (2) I’m with you. Simple chili is good chili. Couple kinds of beans [Emphasis added]…

    I was expecting the ‘beans’ addition to be much more controversial than it’s been…

    I add plenty of black pepper and a bit of cumin to mine, but chili (or chile) is one of those things where 10 different people will give you 20 different recipes for how it’s supposed to taste. I’ll have to try the fish sauce addition next time.

    1. I’ve mellowed out in my old age and will add beans and other less kosher things, but real chili is meat, onions, garlic, beer and plenty of spices.

  8. Krep. Forgot to get Grandma Dean’s chili recipe out of the safe. Maybe tomorrow.

    I remember it starts, more or less, “Take a dozen chilis off the ristra, clean and seed. . . .”

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