Wednesday, April 18, 2007

May-Jor Hypocrite? Someone has Trans Fat issues.

Yeas & Nays: Wednesday, Apr. 18

Expect to see New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at this weekend’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner (will he be checking out the competition for a potential 2008 presidential run?) and there’s a pretty darn good chance that he’ll also make it to Bloomberg’s after-party at the Costa Rican Embassy.

If he does make it, he’ll be delighted to see one of the party’s hors d’oeuvres, designed specifically with him in mind: pigs in a blanket. Bloomberg doesn’t hide the fact that it’s his favorite finger food, but considering that he’s also the mayor who recently banned trans fats in New York City, party organizers have assured us that the pigs in a blanket will be low-fat.

Something incredible has happened, and I'm willing to bet that not enough people will spend that much time thinking about the significance of this event.

Here is a great opinion piece about the Heir mayor's royal decree to ban trans fats in NY.

New York City has banned trans fats.

Now, I've lived in New York city, and I can tell you this: that city runs on a few things, and grease is one of them (the others are subways and gumption). The CBC article says this an all-encompassing ban, "from the corner pizzeria to high-end bakeries." I personally think this amounts to something akin to tragedy. No trans fats in pizza? The quarter of me that is Italian is swearing and gesturing widly in protest.

And here are some additional queries I have: Does this apply to chain or franchise restaurants, like McDonald's? There's also been a move made to require some restaurants to list ingredients and nutrition info on certain foods when they sell it, but who should have to do this, and why do some people not have to? Shouldn't it be my choice to stuff my arteries with trans fats or not? Why doesn't Mayor Bloomberg (whose idea this was, apparently) spend his time and money on building gyms and outdoor courts in the poorer areas of his city--where trans fats hit people hardest--or even making grants available so people can open healthier restaurant choices in those areas? Choice instead of legislation? Opportunity instead of restriction?


The city has given its restaurants a year and a half--readjusted from an unrealistic six months--to recalibrate their menus and get trans-fat free. I wonder how many corner pizzerias and falafel shacks will close because their owners can't afford to make the switch. It will be interesting to see how this ban plays out for the people who have to adjust their business plans, cooking methods, and even their cultural norms (try and get any Italian to change their recipe and you're playing with fire) to comply with their "health-obsessed" mayor's whims.

Jeez, New York, this is atypically nutty for you (even by Bloomberg standards). You're generally proud of your diverse menu choices and fluctuating waistline. In fact, I'd even say that this move seems suspiciously LA...have you been reading US Weekly again? Have you been vacationing in Malibu behind our backs? Chilling at raw food restaurants with Lindsay Lohan? 'Fess up.

Hey, it's okay. Don't get upset. Is it Bloomberg? Is it because he has a health-nut contest with a friend as to who can stay slimmer and more fit? You can tell us, we won't say anything.

Okay, stay closed-mouthed if you want, but just remember your proud past. Remember that little pool of delicious that forms when you fold the sides of a pizza up to fit it in your mouth. Remember the warm crullers that coat your insides with a fortifying wall of fat for those harsh NY winters. Remember 4am drunken Papaya King hot dogs and how they take the hangover edge off. Remember cheese, New York, and its multiplicity of uses.

And remember your leaders past, who let you live in all your trans-fatty glory. In fact, I bet Giuliani is shaking his head and eating a piece of pizza as we speak.

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