Extreme Exception

This month's issue of the print edition of the The Atlantic has an article on the Edible Schoolyard movement, and the idea of gardens in public schools generally and especially as part of a curriculum, with which I took and take great exception. But hey, we're The Atlantic! We welcome diversity of opinion, and don't spike our valued colleagues' articles (though we do make our feelings known in frank and useful exchanges).

I fired my opening salvo in my most recent post on calorie labeling, below, and have talked at length with Alice Waters about it. But I'm waiting to get in touch with people on the ground, and in the garden, before writing further. Watch this space! And in the meantime, look at this impassioned reaction by my friends Ed Levine and Vicky Bijur on Ed's terrific Serious Eats, this strong and sensible reaction from Mother Jones, and this thoughtful and trenchant piece from the always-thoughtful Tom Philpott on Grist. From my most recent post:

The most literary, and probably for that reason annoying, form of this argument I've seen appears in our very own new issue, I'm sorry to say--one of several egregious points in an attack on school gardens I'll have more to say about shortly. In it Caitlin Flanagan quotes the famous passage in Orwell's Road to Wigan Pier saying that "when you are underfed, harassed, bored, and miserable, you don't want to eat dull wholesome food"--you want the solid sugar that the Industrial Revolution made affordable for every English factory worker, or the solid fat that U.S. corn and other subsidies make affordable for every low-paid or unemployed American worker. This reductio ad absurdum simply consigns the poor to eternal obesity and malnutrition, and short-circuits any government initiatives to improve health and make better food available to everyone. It's let-'em-eat-cake under the guise of libertarian realism.
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Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." More

Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." Julia Child once said, "I think he's a very good food writer. He really does his homework. As a reporter and a writer he takes his work very seriously." Kummer's 1990 Atlantic series about coffee was heralded by foodies and the general public alike. The response to his recommendations about coffees and coffee-makers was typical--suppliers scrambled to meet the demand. As Giorgio Deluca, co-founder of New York's epicurean grocery Dean & Deluca, says: "I can tell when Corby's pieces hit; the phone doesn't stop ringing." His book, The Joy of Coffee, based on his Atlantic series, was heralded by The New York Times as "the most definitive and engagingly written book on the subject to date." In nominating his work for a National Magazine Award (for which he became a finalist), the editors wrote: "Kummer treats food as if its preparation were something of a life sport: an activity to be pursued regularly and healthfully by knowledgeable people who demand quality." Kummer's book The Pleasures of Slow Food celebrates local artisans who raise and prepare the foods of their regions with the love and expertise that come only with generations of practice. Kummer was restaurant critic of New York Magazine in 1995 and 1996 and since 1997 has served as restaurant critic for Boston Magazine. He is also a frequent food commentator on television and radio. He was educated at Yale, immediately after which he came to The Atlantic. He is the recipient of five James Beard Journalism Awards, including the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award.

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