This week in food politics, the French embrace fast food, previously banned Italian cold cuts are coming your way, apparent cannibalism in Jamestown and sexist allegations against good food movement–guru Michael Pollan.
Known for their exacting standards of dining, the French have begun to cave to the temptation of fast food (albeit less fried and more fresh than the typical American options). According to NPR’s The Salt, fast food sales account for 54 percent of restaurant fare sold in France. The French have even taken to eating alone — a previously unthinkable notion in the country where a meal is typically a multi-hour, multi-course affair
While the French learn to love Subway, Americans will soon be able to enjoy the wide range of salumi available in Italy that has been banned in the U.S. until now. The USDA is loosening regulations on the import of Italian cured meats starting May 28th and we can only imagine what will happen to the already bountiful selection at Mario Batali’s Italian specialty mecca, Eataly, when it does.
Arbiter of good food, Michael Pollan, made headlines recently not for the release of his new book Cooked, but because two different websites alleged him of being sexist. Salon and Jezebel both ran stories linking back to a controversial four-year-old New York Times Magazine article Pollan wrote about women and cooking. Michelle Konstantinovsky — a former teaching asisstant of Pollan’s — took to Huffington Post to defend the UC Berkeley professor/author, calling the accusations “unfounded traffic-boosting shock tactics.”
History classes are bound to get more interesting after the discovery of a 14-year-old girl’s skull from colonial Jamestown has scientists hypothesizing that that the young settler was a victim of cannibalism. Marks on the skull suggest that horses, dogs and rats weren’t all the colonists ate when the winter of 1609 drove them to desperation.
In D.C., President Obama’s joke at the annual White House Correspondent’s Dinner about not wanting to get a drink with Republican senator Mitch McConnell (KY) prompted a jovial response from the McConnell re-election team: a photo of the Senator at a Kentucky bar referencing both Obama’s joke and Clint Eastwood’s “empty chair” speech on Twitter.