Fanatical food author Michael Pollan and many of his nutrition activist peers often blame obesity on the (low) price of food. But it’s easy to issue lofty prescriptions from their ivory tower perspective, sneering at bourgeois dishes (like oven-fried chicken and Chinese takeout) that many Americans enjoy. So today’s New York Times feature highlighting the joie de vivre of Pollan and other all-natural elitists over the recent jump in U.S. food costs came as no surprise. Channeling the snobbery of Marie Antoinette, Organic-only maven Alice Waters obtusely balked at the notion of lower-income Americans not being able to budget for high-dollar groceries:
Urging others to eat better (and thus more expensive) food is not elitist, she said. It is simply a matter of quality versus quantity and encouraging healthier, more satisfying choices. “Make a sacrifice on the cellphone or the third pair of Nike shoes,” she said.
Reviewing Pollan’s latest book, online magazine Slate noted that there’s more zealotry than reason in this approach to eating, dubbing his dictates “the holy, catholic, and apostolic church of food, where only martyrs and lost souls have to shop at Safeway.”
If this cadre of all-organic, all-gourmet food elitists gets their wish, conventional meal prices will continue to rise. Pollan should feel perfectly free to pay through the nose for food, but most consumers find no joy in spending more than they have to.