Articles / Food: The 1960s vs. Now, with Michael F. Jacobson

Food: The 1960s vs. Now, with Michael F. Jacobson

Published September 13, 2023

Plus: How to know what you’re buying, cooking for dictators, and escapism of the best sort

This Week’s Marksisms

Food with Mark Bittman: Michael F. Jacobson

I recently came across my copy of Food for People, Not for Profit: A Sourcebook on the Food Crisis, a collection of essays edited by Michael F. Jacobson and Catherine Lerza, with a preface by Ralph Nader. It came out in 1975. Eighty per cent of it could have been written yesterday. Some things have changed, and in part thanks to Mike Jacobson; many things have not. (Or have just gotten worse.)

Mike Jacobson was, for 40 years, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which he co-founded, probably the most important NGO related to nutrition and food of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. (And I’m not diminishing its importance now.) The Center for Science in the Public Interest publishes Nutrition Action Healthletter, which, in the days of newsletters, was the newsletter about nutrition that you wanted to read — incredibly influential, and very ahead of its time in talking about the junk food-related chronic disease crisis.

CSPI led efforts to win passage of laws regarding the nutrition facts label on food packaging, the calorie information on chain restaurant menus, the law defining organic foods, and especially an FDA regulation that banned artificial trans fats. And Mike is currently working on a project that would establish the National Food Museum in Washington, DC. We talked about all this and more.

Mike is a national food hero, and it was a true pleasure to talk with him.

Follow Food with Mark Bittman on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Overcast | Pocket Casts | Amazon Music

How to Know What You’re Buying

This useful guide to understanding labels on animal products, from our friends at EWG — Environmental Working Group — is a tiny bit arcane and can be confusing. But so is labeling, and it’s the best summary we’ve seen to help you figure out what you’re looking at when you’re considering meat, fish, or dairy.

Be Careful Whom You Cook For

As I’m sure most of you know, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner paramilitary group who tried a mini-insurrection against Putin, got his start as Putin’s chef. That oddity sparked our friends at The Browser to start thinking this about cooking for dictators, which resulted in this excellent piece.

Community Kitchen (Again)

In case you missed our previous post about Community Kitchen and the great piece that the Guardian did about it a couple of weeks ago, here it is again. Sorry for the repetition, but this is the most important work I’m doing right now, I’m passionately committed to it, and I want to make sure as many people as possible know about it.

How I Eat Pasta Now

The content below was originally paywalled.

Another example of radically more sauce, less pasta.

A Minute of Pure Escapism

When things just get too much … spend a minute with this adorable sushi cartoon.

See you next week!