Bittman’s Regulatory Proposal Bites Off More Than He Can Chew

New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman fancies himself a journalist but his elitist biases in promoting regulations on the foods Americans eat would earn him an F in Journalism 101. And now, Times readers are beginning to see the truth – and calling him out in the Gray Lady’s editorial pages.

In Bittman’s August 2 column, he espoused heavy regulations against food makers for the audacity of selling a product that people want to buy. As the author of Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly, James McWilliams should theoretically be Bittman’s comrade-in-arms. However, McWilliams sees a slippery slope:

Sure, highly processed junk food doled out by Big Food is horrible for our health. But so are the pork bellies doused in rich cream sauce and the scallops poached in goose fat promoted by fancy restaurants as “local” and “sustainable.” Should the government regulate these items as well?

I agree in spirit with Mr. Bittman, but the regulation game strikes me as a Pandora’s box that is better left closed.

But it’s not just fancy restaurants that make their money in serving up rich fare.

Bittman’s own cookbook series, How to Cook Everything, is hardly a calorie-free picnic. His website publishes recipes of his creation that pack a whallop in fat and calories, including crunchy corn guacamole, stir-fried pad Thai, baked macaroni and cheese, and chocolate mousse.

Surely Bittman is not suggesting that he himself deserves to be regulated for coming up with gourmet goodies, right? Because he knows no health-conscious person would dare to eat all those delectables in a single night. They would use moderation for such treats. Which, wouldn’t you know it, is exactly what the rest of us are able to do without busybodies like Bittman trying to sic the government on us. 

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