Thursday, March 11, 2010


In today's New York Daily News, there is an article about a New York state assemblyman, Felix Ortiz, who wants to ban salt in all New York restaurants.

Yes, I said salt. You can read the article here: NY Salt Ban. In short:

"No owner or operator of a restaurant shall use salt in any form in the preparation of any food," the bill reads.

Ortiz reckons that his bill is designed to save lives; I reckon it's yet another way to take personal responsibility away from people. Thirty years ago, when my parents were stretching their food budget, they always included vegetables with meals, and fruit was readily available for snacking. This does not mean that Tastykakes, potato chips, and Hamburger Helper were not on standby, but they were the exceptions and not for daily consumption.

Fast forward to today, when there is a plethora of nutritional information available. There are healthy cooking shows, a huge selection of healthy cookbooks, and every news show has at least one doctor or R.D. with his/her own healthy eating segment. And yet we are a fat nation, struggling with diabetes, heart disease, and now, hypertension. And what do people do? Blame the environment around them:

"I live too close to McDonald's."

"I don't know/have time to cook healthy meals."

"I can't afford to eat fresh food."

I call bravo sierra on all of this. In today's information age, there is no excuse except laziness. It is all too easy to drop ten bucks on cheeseburgers and fries and then complain when jeans are too tight or the children are out of breath just getting out of bed in the morning. Every family knows that too much of anything is bad, whether it is fat, sugar, or, in this case, salt. But telling the government that it is okay for them to make these decisions, that it is okay for them to take away personal responsibility is wrong. I know that the grinder and fries I had last night would mean extra time on the weight bench today; however, it pleases me that I had the choice to make the call and tip the delivery man for bringing me a hot meal, and I enjoyed every bite. Too much salt? Maybe. But I didn't cook the meal; if I wanted something salt-free I could have easily poached a chicken breast and had a bowl of lettuce and flashed back to my days as a dietary aide in a nursing home, trying to convince people that a salt-free diet was "really tasty!" Ugh.

When I go out to eat, I want to savor every bite. I want a chef who knows my meal is properly seasoned before it is placed in front of me. If I feel it needs a bit of tweaking, I want the option to add a little salt or pepper of my own. If I choose to upend an entire shaker of salt on to my lovingly seared ahi tuna well, it's my meal, my health, and my dollar. The key word being "my." I chose the restaurant, the wine, the entree; I don't want the government looking over my shoulder and lecturing me about every bite.

Back off, Big Brother, please. You're violating my personal space.


Nola said...

Amazing Lisa. Your best piece yet! Well done. I was planning a freelance piece about this, but maybe not as you just said it all perfectly! Bravo.

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

I completely agree with your sentiments! Next will they make it a law that you have to jog 5 times a week? A slippery slope.

Bridget said...

This is why I read the NY Post ... every story is "interesting" ...

I guess if McDonald's had to put a notice on their cups saying that coffee was HOT, I shouldn't be surprised that salt needs to have its own law as well.

I realize that not everyone is the cosmopolitan sophisticates that we are, but I think if you haven't heard that too much salt is a bad thing, you've probably missed some other important stuff as well.

puffthemagicrabbit said...

Very, very well said.

(and dammit, now i want some french fries- burning hot, w/ tons of salt...)