That’s the topic of this thoughtful piece by Mark Bittman, but the point isn’t just the familiar fact of the hidden high (and highly subsidized) costs of processed food in America. Bittman reflects more generally on how regular ingredients can be bought cheaply and prepared easily to make healthy delicious meals at home (which, coincidentally, is this blog’s wheelbox). His overall point is that “the alternative to fast food is not necessarily organic food, any more than the alternative to soda is Bordeaux”:
The alternative to soda is water, and the alternative to junk food is not grass-fed beef and greens from a trendy farmers’ market, but anything other than junk food: rice, grains, pasta, beans, fresh vegetables, canned vegetables, frozen vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, bread, peanut butter, a thousand other things cooked at home — in almost every case a far superior alternative.
Brought to my attention by the ever-informative Adam Conover's google feed.
This is not exactly food-related, but today the NYC announced that Alta Bike Share won the contract for the NYC Bike Share. For anyone not in NYC (or just not following this story), the City put out a call for bids last fall, and since then there has been much speculation about what a share for a city as large as New York will look like. Now we have it:
Within the service area, which will stretch from the Upper West Side and Upper East Side to Bed Stuy and Greenpoint, New Yorkers will have access to 10,000 public bikes at about 600 stations.
Annual memberships will cost under $100. Members will be able to make trips of up to 30 minutes at no charge.
The stations will be sited with input from local communities, and the City Council will hold hearings on the program.
The system must operate without public subsidy.
I confess, this sounds incredible ambitious, and I wonder how realistic it is. The Paris bike share was be much more costly than initially predicted, but I understand that subsequent programs have learned much from the mistakes made there (bikes are apparently much harder to steal in other cities). And of course, even if the rates have to go up, the program would be a success if it convinced people to at least try biking, and then maybe encouraged people to buy their own. Whatever happens, I’m excited to see how this plays out.