The food(ie) controversy du jour is the New York Times article last Sunday about USDA support and money spent surreptiously to encourage Americans to eat more cheese. Aaargh! Will cheese suddenly become as dangerous as high fructose corn syrup? Will there be a rush to de-cheese our diets? Or to push low-fat or diet cheese, one of the abominations of the dieters’ world.
Or, like so many other puzzle pieces in the American love/hate affair with food, is there an alternate view? As Walter Willett of HarvardPublic Health, the healthy food oracle for our times, says, cheese eaten in sensible amounts can be part of a good diet. However, when Domino’s Pizza and other chains are doubling down — cheese in the crust, more cheese on top, cheese hidden — we get the familiar American scenario. Instead of food as a life force and as a social joy, we seem determined to view food as an obsession or as a danger.
If those of us who love cheese — definitely count me among them — can agree that cheese is not a diet food and should be eaten in moderation, couldn’t we join the French, known for eating a lot of cheese, but not known for obesity? Enjoy cheese, really good cheese — on your cheeseboard, in fondue, even on a pizza. But know what you’re eating. Cheese, glorious cheese!!