I was catching up on reading a few days back and spied both the Cool News e-blast and the NYT article from October 15 about Bill Niman, who has a new venture called BN Ranch. His new specialty is goat meat. Niman told me about his passion for goat the last time I saw him at a big food event and again during a commercial break when I interviewed him for my old radio show. With his recent “divorce” from Niman Ranch, he had the dough and the time to start the new venture. Goat is leaner than lamb, has half the fat of chicken, and is as versatile as any meat on the planet. Goat is a major part of my diet on the road and Niman’s Boer and Spanish goats are renowned for their clean, mild flavor and elegant texture. Just thought I would pass it on, from one goat lover to what I hope are many others. Now you have no excuse not to try some. If you are looking for some locally raised goat, check out the Minnesota Grown website.
Regular readers of the posted comments on this site have no doubt seen the exchanges recently about the tip credit laws between George and my friend Lenny. I think Lenny is right, and if you are interested in the exchange, start scrolling, but one of Lenny’s posts caught my eye. He said, “We shouldn't be penalized for the uneducated assumptions of those who have little or no understanding of the issues.” I don’t think George quite falls into that category, but the hyperbolic riposte of Lenny’s posts does remind me that false equivalency seems to be on the minds of many of us these days. Any fans of The Daily Show will remember Campbell Brown’s recent interview where she discusses the same issue (lying liars, not tip credits) as the raison d’etre for pushing for her new show on CNN.
Paraphrasing Brown, if one person says its sunny outside, and one person says it’s raining, and you as a reporter look outside and see it is obviously sunny, you are not required as a member of the fourth estate to devote equal time to both sides of the argument as many in the news business have famously argued over the years. In many cases, a fairness doctrine should apply, but when someone is obviously crazier than a sh*thouse crow, is a bold-faced liar, is so deluded as to be dangerous, or makes false arguments without merit of such an inflammatory nature that he or she is potentially culpable in social injustice (or worse), don’t you think we are obligated as citizens of a free country to hold them accountable in some way? Isn’t an informed opinion worth something anymore? I have stayed away for a post or two from commenting on the political landscape, but this is, after all, my last missive before the elections next week, and I wanted to take this time to apologize to anyone who turns to these pages as a respite from all the political histrionics.
But if you care about your city, the great state we live in, our children, and our fellow Minnesotans, you can’t help but be embarrassed, offended, and ashamed listening to or reading the pathetic drivel that has spewed from Congresswoman Bachmann’s mouth in recent weeks. As Peggy Noonan wrote in the WSJ a few weeks ago about national candidacy of the governor of Alaska, “(it is) a symptom of the expression of a new vulgarization in American politics. It’s no good, not for conservatism and not for the country.”
Sometimes, people are just plain wrong, and the serious world we live in requires representation by intelligent and open-minded people who rise to that level on a daily basis. And when they don’t, we have to hold them accountable. As they say in Helvetia, West Virginia, just because the cat has kittens in the oven doesn’t make them muffins.
Let’s pray the voting machines all work and that all eligible Minnesotans (and Americans) who want to cast a vote have the opportunity to do so in a timely fashion.
Speaking of lies . . . check out this article from Huffington Post. It’s a great piece about two nutrition experts who say you can't take multinational food corporations’ marketing campaigns at face value. Duh!
Here’s the intro: “With America's obesity problem among kids reaching crisis proportions, even junk food makers have started to claim they want to steer children toward more healthful choices. In a study released earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 32 percent of children were overweight but not obese, 16 percent were obese, and 11 percent were extremely obese.” The world’s largest food companies all seem to embrace marketing initiatives that encourage sampling of foods of questionable nutritional value.
David Ludwig, writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, argues rightly that makers of popular junk foods “have an obligation to stockholders to encourage kids to eat more--not less--of the foods that fuel their profits,” and insists that big food companies can’t be trusted to help combat obesity. At the link above, Ludwig and Marion Nestle list ten things everyone should know about this issue. Their commentary is fantastic, and you should read the full piece, but I have detailed the top ten below for those who need their arm twisted. The authors cite chapter and verse and use real-world examples to back up their claims; it makes for great reading.
1. Junk food makers spend billions advertising unhealthy foods to kids. ?
2. The studies that food producers support tend to minimize health concerns associated with their products.?
3. Junk food makers donate large sums of money to professional nutrition associations.
4. More processing means more profits, but typically makes the food less healthy.?
5. Less-processed foods are generally more satiating than their highly processed counterparts.?
6. Many supposedly healthy replacement foods are hardly healthier than the foods they replace.?
7. A health claim on the label doesn't necessarily make a food healthy.?
8. Food industry pressure has made nutritional guidelines confusing.
9. The food industry funds front groups that fight antiobesity public health initiatives.?
10. The food industry works aggressively to discredit its critics.
Chris Kimball of America’s Test Kitchen fame and The Splendid Table’s Lynn Rosetto Kasper and Sally Swift are doing a joint book signing and Q and A session at Cooks of Crocus Hill on November 10. Check out the website for more info on getting a ticket for the evening’s festivities.