The New York Times reports a story that is both good news and bad news.
The good news is that the venerable school bake sale is nearly dead. The bad news is that a stake hasn’t yet been driven through the hearts of those who still recognize that people will not buy products that they don’t like. It’s not for lack of trying. From coast to coast school districts, prodded by both their in-house behavior engineers as well as a culture that hysterically screams, as does the stereotypical woman shrieking at the sight of a mouse, in panic when contemplating a delicious desert that may tempt the weak to chuck nutrition in favor of taste.
The Times reporter starts her lecture on proper eating by deploring the scandalous antics of a California high school’s water polo team fund raising drive that circumvents the state’s "strict new nutrition standards" by selling, off campus, cupcakes, lemon bars and caramel applies. Their products, the reporter moans, fall "woefully" short of the state’s dictates of what snacks may lawfully be sold on school property. It is, she weeps, a "flagrant act of nutritional disobedience."
Moving from troubling recalcitrance to the "progressive" the reporter glowingly recites the "positive" trends operating in both California and throughout the nation. Hundreds of school districts in every state now limit fat, calories, salt and sugar in foods sold at schools. California’s regulation will soon be beefed up to forbid the sale of all soft drinks, including diet drinks. Kentucky, of all places, has the toughest regulations of on-campus food sales, forbidding even the sales of sports drinks.
These rules and regulations "will do for junk food what smoking bans and taxes did for tobacco," says a senior research scientist with the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Another cuisine commissar notes approvingly that innovations such as Halloween vegetable platters for kindergartners and on campus organic produce stands are successful in altering pernicious cultural artifacts that equate festivities with good food.
“I don’t think all celebrations need to be around food,” said Ann Cooper, the director of nutrition services for the Berkeley school district. “We need to get past the mentality of food used for punishment or praise.”
Ah, insight and wisdom from the city of Berkeley California. As the entire country adopts the values of Stalingrad by the Pacific the social and behavioral engineers will follow up their success in the public schools by an intense drive to export control into the students’ homes. Down the road if the rightness of the directors of nutrition meet resistance in the home expect to see rules and regulations crafted to remove the wall that separates private from public. That’s already underway in regards to smoking. As the war on smoking proceeds unopposed so to shall the war on food reign triumphant unless parents and all citizens relegate public servants to once again serving the public.