Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The New York Times: Hotbed of Middle Class Food/Health Anxiety

Oh New York Times Magazine and Thursday Dining section, how I love thee and hate thee.

My mother-in-law dutifully saves the Dining section for me. When she first started saving it,  I was tickled. I only get the Sunday Times, so I wasn't privy to Thursday's riches. But overtime, it began to put me to sleep.  Melissa Clark's Good Appetite, some new hipster hoof-to-tail food truck in Brooklyn, a feature on dinner kits for harried rich people. Color me bored and a bit annoyed. Now, whenever  I go to my mother-in-law's for a visit, I snap it up, take it home, and promptly toss it into the paper-for-fires bin.

And the Sunday Magazine- oy vey! The unsubstantiated and ever-shifting health reports that it so blithely presents as breaking health and food news are astounding.

On Feb. 25, 2013, Gina Kolata reported in the NY Times Health section about the new (but really hardly new) benefits of the Mediterranean diet.  Shortly thereafter, the Sunday Magazine's Gretchen Reynolds advised readers, in Eat Your Heart Out to come back to butter. Based on a slim stick of evidence--"a long over-looked Australian study conducted from 1966 to 1973"--Reynolds concluded that polyunsaturated fats (canola, safflower oils, etc.) rather than saving us all from cardiovascular disease, may actually be kicking our tickers.  And on top of all that, nutritional immunologist,  Philip C. Calder, reported that "the link between cholesterol and heart disease is not actually as strong as we think." Now, now, wait a second (read in Jimmy Stewart-like stammer).

Should we follow the low cholesterol Mediterranean Diet or grab a pound of butter and start slathering it on??? Should we indulge? Should we deny??  WHAT THE HELL IS A PERSON TO EAT, in the face of such wild informational fluctuations?

It is hard to say whether the New York Times reflects the health and food whirl-a-gig of our times (particularly for the sub and urban elite who seem to be eating this stuff up) or whether it creates it. I think it is a little bit of both--a symbiotic relationship.

By The Way- Here is the cover of the March 10 magazine issue that contained Reynolds' animal lard celebration. 

                                                                   I rest my case.