Foreign Policy Weighs in on the World’s Stupidest Food Fads


Foreign Policy has just published its very first food issue. As you might expect from a publication better known for its discussions of AIDS in South Africa and the effect on economic stagnation upon democracy, it doesn’t feature pretty pictures of unsmiling Bay Area artisans or Proustian recollections of the Good Humor truck. But as deadly serious as it is about the new geopolitics of food and world hunger, Foreign Policy can’t help but weigh in on cupcakes.

This was the answer given by Edward Cameron, a climate-change expert, when asked to name the planet’s stupidest food fad. But cupcakes have plenty of competition: “A tie between the primal diet and breast-milk ice cream,” was the answer given by Richard Conant, who took some time off from his work with ecosystem ecology to consider the weighty matter.

Policy analyst Sallie James, meanwhile, fingered the “locavore” and “slow food movement,” which she deems “snobbish, condescending, indulgent, misguided, and thoroughly unrealistic.” (For his part, Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini answered, “When we spend more money trying to lose weight than on buying good-quality food.” So stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Sallie James.)

But while we particularly appreciate political science professor Robert Paarlberg’s “raising chickens in urban apartments” and David Byrne’s “artificially-flavored fruit,” we’ve got to give this round to Raj Desai: In addition to “natural appetite suppressants,” he answered “sliders. Chop up a burger in quarters and charge half the price for each? Brilliant.”

(Incidentally, the experts also weighed in on farm subsidies, the green revolution, the meaning of “organic,” and other, far more pressing issues, but the words “stupidest” and “food fad” are the bright, shiny objects our brains can process after 5 p.m. on a Thursday.)

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