Even as we are thriving more on the junk foods or eating anything carelessly, there were foods for thought served by The Nation in its September 11, 2006 issue, which at best can be termed as a wake-up call towards reviewing and shaping our attitude towards eating vis-à-vis our health. It provided an in-depth analysis of food world of the then America through a series of articles, which are no less topical even today.
In her article ‘Black Farms, Black Markets’, Habiba Alcindor narrated the sordid tale of the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, where the ratios of obese among adults and children were then 1:4 and 1:3 respectively. This had happened due to the non-availability of fresh vegetables in the area. Habiba pointed towards the lack of supply against the demand; as it went on to narrate how a Jamaican-born farmer David Haughton, inspired by the “Leadership Summit on Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health,” had decided to sell the organic produce from a tent!In another article, “Slow Food Nation”, Alice Waters drew a sacred reminder from a book as old as 1825: that “the destiny of nations depend on the manner in which they are fed”! She cannoned the growing dependency of the Americans on the junk food. In quest of a solid prescription of ideal ‘national diet’, she produced almost a magical twist by turning towards civic virtues.
With rationale, she went on to condemning any slam-bam attitude manifesting its ugly head through junk-food culture – all the while entwining it with issues like global warming or the consequences of environmental, political social and ethical factors stemming out of this culture.And the gourmet chef had also proved to be an undercover campaigner of green foods in the school! Yes, Anna Lappe’s article “Doing Lunch” added that dimension in that issue. Lappe had managed some inspiring bytes from Ann Cooper, the then director of Nutrition Services in the Berkeley, who also has penned a book on child diet.
In her interview, Cooper had declared the new menu for the children and the policies backing it. Even as Lappe found it revolutionary to see roast chicken, broccoli or fresh fruits in children’s menu instead of chicken fingers or tater tots, Cooper sounded optimistic to carry on the task to perfection with a missionary attitude.All these and many more angles on the food and ideal eating were covered in that September 11, 2006 issue of The Nation, which can still be considered as a collectors’ item for whom the food matters.