Saturday, July 19, 2008

What is it with Dowd & food?

The effort to green next month's Democratic National Convention in Denver drew sneers this week from New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd (right). She noted a report that convention planners've "hired the first-ever Director of Greening, the environmental activist Andrea Robinson [below left]," who "hired an Official Carbon Adviser to 'measure the greenhouse-gas emissions of every placard, every plane trip, every appetizer prepared and every coffee cup tossed,'" and instructed caterers to be "'lean ‘n’ green'": No fried food, and, Dowd reports,
'on the theory that nutritious food is more vibrant, each meal should include "at least three of the following colors: red, green, yellow, blue/purple, and white." (Garnishes don’t count.) At least 70% of the ingredients should be organic or grown locally, to minimize emissions from fuel during transportation.
In Dowd's view all this is a distraction from real problems like "the economy that's depressed" -- a distraction due to what she calls the "eat-your-arugula chiding and chilly earnestness," the "seeming too prissy about food" perception of the Democrats' presumptive nominee, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois.
This week's column was by no means the 1st in which Dowd ranted at Obama for acknowledging the existence of arugula, let alone for an aversion to sweets. She's cited such traits as indicative of a political candidate -- and, now, a political party -- out of step with America.
Hard to figure what's "un-American" about stating a preference for food grown in the heartland state of Colorado. Hard to figure too what's "patriotic" about limiting oneself to iceberg lettuce.
Biodiversity can be a good thing, not only because it forestalls species extinction, but also because it increases variety for consumers and markets for producers. Same too with carbon-counting: there's potential not only to slow climate change, but also to grow the economy by expanding production of recyclable implements and energy-efficient transportation. And at a time when obesity threatens America's physical and economic health, isn't attention to caloric content a welcome sign of American leadership?

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