The work for the CPPW (Communities Putting Prevention to Work) grant project is humming along. My colleague, Carol White, and I have five power points and 2/3 of the workbook completed for the ensuing spring and summer workshops (hooray!) titled “Discover. Cook. Nourish: the why and how of whole foods cooking for school food service staff”
A challenge arose in portraying the USDA guidelines in the power point on balanced meals – the crazy quilt pyramid with the android running up the side of it? The one where figuring out which colored stripe means what takes some wild guessing, a magnifying glass or both. We look up close and personal at this chart during my class at Bastyr. The two Triscuits prominently displayed beneath the orange stripe and the quart of milk, pint of milk, and (in case you didn’t get it) glass of milk, dancing within the blue stripe are noteworthy. If you believe these were artistic choices, pull your head out of the Nabisco box.
In the slide for the workshops I chose the soft word “compromised” in describing the pyramid. Not polite to admonish rules for which there are no alternatives. Still, it’s good to add the reminder that the regulations put forth by the USDA are loaded with political punch and financial headlocks.
This morning I read Marion Nestle’s food politics blog where she outlined her 2011 predictions. Apparently a new pictorial USDA food guideline is ready for launch. Ms. Nestle says, “The 2005 pyramid’s rainbow stripes proved impossible to teach and useless to anyone without a computer. I’ve heard a rumor that I will love the new design. I’m skeptical. ”
Amen. Impossible to teach are the right words. How one would construct a balanced meal by staring at the stripes with the product menagerie spilling out of the bottom is beyond me. Too many interest groups spoiled the broth?