Gustavo Arellano on L.A.'s Long War Against People Eating Tasty Food

From banning new fast food joints to arresting folks who sell raw milk, the city has set the standard for how to legislate what residents eat.


Peter Bagge

For decades an innovator in food trends—from fast food chains to the California cuisine of Wolfgang Puck and Nancy Silverton to Mexican everything, Korean grub, food trucks, and Taco Bell—Los Angeles is America's ultimate food laboratory. Whether you're a gourmand or a grubber, what's being eaten here by kids and workers today will show up in Topeka in a couple of years. Hey, Jayhawkers: Get ready for bacon-wrapped hot dogs!

But Los Angeles has also become a place for do-gooders to try to govern the habits of the public gut, as Californian Gustavo Arellano explains. Those bacon-wrapped hot dogs, sold off of carts, are nowadays as much a part of the Angeleno nightlife as Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully and nosy po-po. But said po-po usually impound said carts under orders from health officials who are afraid eaters will die from the unholy union of pork on pork. It's the way of L.A.: From banning new fast food restaurants to arresting people who sell raw milk to cracking down on backyard chicken coops, Los Angeles has set the standard for the rest of the country on how to legislate against our right to nosh on what we want. And the hammer inevitably falls on the common man.