The March 10 issue of the New Yorker includes a profile of Michelle Obama, the refreshingly candid (and awesomely tall) potential next First Lady.
Back in April, someone who was caucusing for Barack Obama in Iowa told me that the Mister had read Michael Pollan's April 22 op-ed piece for the New York Times Magazine, "You Are What You Grow," and was referring to it knowledgeably in discussions about the Farm Bill. Sounds like Michelle Obama is ready to hitch a ride on the SOLE food chuckwagon as well, even if she does keep M&Ms in her purse. I love that she referred to Iowa State Fair food as "stuff on a stick."
Writes Lauren Collins in the New Yorker piece:
One morning, during a roundtable at Ma Fischer’s, a diner in Milwaukee, Elizabeth Crawford, a recently divorced caterer with two children, brought up the subject of the eating habits of American families. “I really, really hope that Barack will jump on that,” she said.
Then, having given thoughtful but boilerplate responses most of the morning, Obama suddenly departed from her script. It was the most animated I saw her on the campaign trail. “You know,” she said, “in my household, over the last year we have just shifted to organic for this very reason. I mean, I saw just a moment in my nine-year-old’s life — we have a good pediatrician, who is very focussed on childhood obesity, and there was a period where he was, like, ‘Mmm, she’s tipping the scale.’ So we started looking through our cabinets. …You know, you’ve got fast food on Saturday, a couple days a week you don’t get home. The leftovers, good, not the third day! … So that whole notion of cooking on Sunday is out. …And the notion of trying to think about a lunch every day! …So you grab the Lunchables, right? And the fruit-juice-box thing, and we think — we think — that’s juice. And you start reading the labels and you realize there’s high-fructose corn syrup in everything we’re eating. Every jelly, every juice. Everything that’s in a bottle or a package is like poison in a way that most people don’t even know. …Now we’re keeping, like, a bowl of fresh fruit in the house. But you have to go to the fruit stand a couple of times a week to keep that fruit fresh enough that a six-year-old—she’s not gonna eat the pruney grape, you know. At that point it’s, like, ‘Eww!’ She’s not gonna eat the brown banana or the shrivelledy-up things. It’s got to be fresh for them to want it. Who’s got time to go to the fruit stand? Who can afford it, first of all?”
Well, judging from the salary figures listed by Collins, if anyone can afford fresh organic food, it's Michelle Obama. But if getting to the fruit stand becomes problematic during all that campaigning, perhaps the Obamas might want to consider a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription to a local farm. The 2007 food issue of the Chicago Reader listed quite a few CSA farms in the Chicago area, including Angel Organics, made famous by the documentary "The Real Dirt on Farmer John," as well as Growing Home, which offers job training for homeless and low-income Chicagoans via its nonprofit organic agriculture business. Unfortunately, Growing Home no longer seems to offer a CSA pickup location in Hyde Park, where the Obamas live, but perhaps delivery could be arranged.
Because really — these kids are going to need stronger nutritional ammo than Lunchables to get them through the primaries, let alone the election.
Photo of the Obamas from the campaign's Flickr photostream.