Take This Column With A BIIIIIG Pinch Of Salt…

Zoe Williams writes a column so bad, I can’t improve on the excellent demolition job Tim Worstall has made of it.

But a few paras stuck out:

…I saw plenty of counter-arguments to that, identifying poor eating habits as a result of deprivation. One was that people with kids and very little money can’t afford to waste food, so have to buy things that children are likely to eat, which more or less means food with too much salt and not enough fresh vegetation.

So, once again, we see the inculcation of the concept that kids must be pandered to at all costs.

If I didn’t like what was on the table when I was a child, I got….nothing. I went hungry. I didn’t do it twice….

Another was that people battling food scarcity tend to overeat when food is available, and depending on what they’re overeating, a missed meal the next day won’t compensate for that.

Exercise will, though.

And by ‘exercise’, I don’t mean putting down the remote for the day and switching over to ‘Jeremy Kyle’ by hand…

I heard a grandmother on Radio 4’s PM some months ago saying that, for those five weeks of snow last winter, she had fed her grandchildren (of whom she had sole care) nothing but eggs, beans, chips and toast.

I’ve lost count of the number of rows I’ve had about that, many in public, one live on telly, during which the broadcaster Jonathan Maitland said this was a problem of education: if she knew how to shop better she would have been able to afford a more balanced diet.

Perhaps it’s more significant that she has sole charge of five grandkids. Did anyone seek to ask why?

Or why she apparently hasn’t heard that you can freeze fish, lean meat and vegetables as well asTurkey Twizzlers?

I understand this strenuous avoidance of reality. Once you accept that crap food is an economic, not a moral choice, you have to accept a whole raft of unpleasant outcomes as a function of deprivation, not an illustration of a lack of backbone. You have to accept that 24,000 “lifestyle-related” yearly deaths from diabetes are related not to sloth but to poverty.

Except, as is pointed out in exhaustive detail in Tim’s thread, eating ‘fast food’ isn’t really as cheap an option as it sounds…

You have to accept that the education agenda against obesity – vegetables and regular exercise – will never work (that should be obvious, just by looking at the data or, failing that, just by looking around).

Yes, because the only fat people in the world, ever, are the poor. Rich people, hell, even well-off people, are always thin. Eric Pickles and John Prescott? Poor souls, not a penny to rub together, either of them…

I think there’s an element of projection here, where people who can afford to eat well – and do – still secretly yearn for a Big Mac, and it’s their own yearning rather than political deliberation that makes them think they’re looking at a lack of willpower from the McDonald’s classes.

People who can afford to eat well do indeed still yearn for a Big Mac. And they have an occasional one.

Note that; an occasional one…

8 comments for “Take This Column With A BIIIIIG Pinch Of Salt…

  1. Jeremy Poynton
    December 18, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Appalling article. I posted a couple of responses, wondering why it was that the Liberal Left felt incapable of recognising the concept of “personal responsibility”, which is at the core of all healthy social constructs. They deleted them (no offensive language, put clearly and firmly) and removed my posting rights. I do so hope the Guardian goes bankrupt – and I say this as one brought up on the Manchester Guardian, a true bastion of the real Liberal flame. CP Scott, poor old feller,. must be spinning in his grave.

    Meanwhile, the more they lose, the higher Arsebridger’s salary goes. Autonomous Mind on a one man crusade versus The Guardian, at the mo – go see.

    • December 18, 2011 at 5:37 pm

      I was brought up on the Manchester Guardian too – like you I can’t wait for it to go under.

  2. Lord T
    December 18, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    I’ve already spoken to our local white van man. I’ve told him to make contacts in the food industry for when it is banned.

    I think the bugger is selling me fake booze though. Luckily the drugs he sells makes me not bothered. Lucky for me the NHS is there just for people lie me, drugged up drinkers.

  3. December 18, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    You made a good point in the comments chez Worstall about food being thrown away.

    Doubtless Ms Williams and her ilk would be outraged at any suggestion that families might serve up leftovers from the previous meal – they would probably see it as moral oppression. In any case, convenience foods are even less palatable second time round, presenting a choice between overeating and throwing it away.

    Having grown up in less prosperous times and places, the Spouse and I have always adhered to the routine of our parents: roast & veg. on Sunday, cold meat with bubble-and-squeak on Monday and baked potatoes on Tuesday, and soup on Wednesday (using stock from the bones) – all for less than the price of 4 Big Macs.

    • December 19, 2011 at 7:25 am

      Confession time: the ‘leftovers’ meals (cottage pie made with minced roast beef, lamb stew made with cubed roast lamb, cold turkey & trimmings with hot mash on Boxing Day) are, in my opinion, much better than the roast dinner first time round!

      And gamebirds are particularly good cold. Guineafowl and cranberry sauce, yum! Keep the boring old chicken for the cat… 😉

      • December 19, 2011 at 10:24 am

        I’m sure the imaginative use of leftovers would be seen in some circles as a bizarre affectation; it is, after all, the antithesis of, say, the KFC meal that comes in a bucket with disposable cutlery – just sweep the whole lot into the bin when you’re done.

        A recent feature on food banks in our local press mentioned a family so ‘deprived’ they have to save half their fish & chips for the next day (fish and chips here works out at £5.30 a head); as a result, they were among those receiving food parcels donated by the public.

        I suspect that, like so many other social ills, this can be traced back to a sense of entitlement.

        • Moppy
          December 19, 2011 at 11:14 pm

          On the subject of leftovers and fish and chips, we always over order fish and chips to have the remainder cold the following day.

          Blast! feel hungry now……..

  4. December 18, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    This Zoe Williams – I’m probably getting the women mixed up but who was that girl who protested against the protesters who were going to do damage at a demo? Wasn’t that a Zoe someone? Is that the same person?

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