Saturday, January 24, 2009

Eating Better From the Top Down

I read two articles today about top chefs' hopes that Obama can influence what we eat. Good articles. I provided links to both articles at the bottom of this post.

I learned in management that you have more influence on people than you think. People watch what you do. People copy you. If you're pissed off or don't get along with someone, your employees will be pissed off and antagonistic toward that same person also. And proportionally to the degree of loyalty they have to you. It can be a problem at times. Your children are the same way. If you are a Packers fan, your kids probably will be too. If you love pepperoni pizza, there's a good chance your daughter will also. This is one of the reasons why I was always angry with Charles Barkley's "I'm not a role model" comment. Yes you are. We all are. That's the problem. We are all role models; we all need to start acting like it. (That aside, I am a big Charles Barkley fan. I think he has come around. Better late than never. He was spot on about parents though).

I'm not sure Bush ever understood that influence. This really is the true power that a President has that makes them the most powerful person in the world, not military might, or economic power or endless connections. For Bush, it was fear and hate. What he feared and what he hated, the rest of the country began to fear and hate. I think Obama is different and I hope I am right.

I agree with these chefs quoted in the links below. If we can see that Obama appreciates food, maybe more people will appreciate food and the enjoyment of food. I'm not talking about over eating or over indulging. You CAN love the taste of chocolate and enjoy it, rapturously, without eating 1000 calories of it. And maybe you can learn to appreciate a fresh Red Haven peach instead of a generic grocery store variety or, shudder, canned. Or braised rabbit with carrots and potatoes. There's a good bet that your ancestors enjoyed that dish, why not you?

From what I've read the Obama family is like mine. They like food. They like simple food like chili and cheese pizza and they like the top of the line upscale stuff. They like to eat out a lot. So do we, or we did when we could afford it. That alone could help jump start the economy.

While I don't always see eye to eye with Alice Waters, she's right, put a garden in at the White House. Maybe more people would garden. I try my hand at it. I don't grow enough to sustain my family but it does help to at least supplement. And it goes a long way to eating better and healthier for my family. I can't wait for the frost danger to be over to start planting again.

Unfortunately eating locally grown food is not an option for everyone (a case where I disagree with Waters). I find it interesting that farmers' markets are really a city attraction not a rural one. There is no farmers' market here. The nearest one is actually Atlanta which I ADORE! Yes, our town does have a small one but only in the summer for Saturday mornings and from what I have seen there are more crafts than food there. But I do agree, more people need to be buying from co-ops, farmers' markets, CSAs, what have you. I rode my bike out yesterday and found what I think is a CSA local to me. I plan on calling them in the next few weeks. We used to be able to feed the world and now we can't feed our own? Something's wrong here. I know we have the same amount of farm land and crops, if not more. It's not a supply issue. It is a priority issue.

If you don't grow a garden, make it your New Year's resolution to grow something this year. If you've never done it or don't have a plot available, try something easy like beans or tomatoes. You can grow them in a large pot, easy, no muss no fuss. And if you already are a gardener, try something new this year. I'm thinking either corn or eggplant myself.

Top Chef's Push Obama to Improve Food Policy

For Alice Waters, Food Change To Believe In

1 comment:

Brook said...

I agree, so much so that I ended up moving my original comment to my blog because it was so long(and then expounding). I plan to be the change I want to see as well. Thanks for the reminder!