“Palm Beach sprawled opulent and plump between the sparkling sapphire of Lake Worth, flawed here and there by house-boats at anchor, and the great turquoise bar of the Atlantic Ocean. The huge bulks of the Breakers and theRroyal Poinciana rose as twin paunches from the bright level of the sand, and around them clustered the Dancing Glade, Bradley’s House of Chance, and a dozen modistes and milliners with goods at triple prices from New York. Upon the trellised veranda of the Breakers two hundred women stepped right, stepped left, wheeled, and slid in that then celebrated calisthenic known as the double shuffle, while in half-time to the music two thousand bracelets clicked up and down on two hundred arms.”
--F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Rich Boy”
That guy could write like an angel. ... A bit of spring break followed by a cascade of work will have me off the blog for the next week.
Must comment, though, on the flurry of food news reported in The NYTimes as fundamental issues about the source of our food, once the concern solely of the food elites, make their way mainstream, much of it apparently sparked by Michelle Obama’s decision to put a garden in the white house. Three cheers to the First Lady who said one of the smartest and simplest statements: her focus is on the kids because it’s the kids who will teach their families and their families who will teach their communities.
Also loved the Severson story on sugar becoming the latest “new and improved” ingredient, a selling point! Further confirmation of how screwed up we are in terms of understanding how to feed ourselves. The article reiterates what I and some commenters have noted on this blog, that there’s little if any evidence that high fructose corn syrup is any worse for you than sugar. They're equally "bad." But the food companies don’t care, they just want to sell you their goods, happily relying on Americans’ confusion and ignorance about how to do the most basic daily acts.
There was also this excellent editorial a few weeks back on salt in our diet, and efforts by the NYC health department to force food processors to reduce the amount of sodium their processed food. The author, Michael Alderman, a professor of medicine, argues there is widely conflicting evidence suggesting that lowering our salt intake will improve our health. In fact, some studies suggest it could be harmful. Alderman notes other similar well-meaning but scientifically iffy proposals—such as how our insistence on eating low fat diets has had little effect on health and obesity in this country. The author simply asks health officials to make decisions based on evidence rather than assumptions.
And for the rest of us who don't want to wait for the randomized clinical trials to begin? Just don’t eat so much processed food! Why is this so difficult to understand? I know I’m preaching to the converted on this site, but why should it be page one news that the First Lady is planting a vegatable garden? Why should concerns about where our food comes from and how we eat have suddenly become mainstream?! Its crazy. It’s enough to make me move to France or to Italy, where people don't wring their hands over the obvious, where they know how to enjoy themselves. If I'm not back in a week, that's where you'll find me.