According to Michelle Obama, cheese dust is not food. Something happens to cheese when you make it really small that shifts it from food to, well…not food. She gave no real for why the size of the cheese is the major determinate in declaring something a food, but let’s walk through her hypothesis here.
Mrs. Obama’s main methodology—wait, excuse me, her personal chef’s main methodology—for determining this was based on whether daughter Malia could make cheese dust from a block of cheese. Due to Malia’s lack of food-processing knowledge, she failed. But this does not make the thesis “cheese dust is not food” true. Cheese dust and the much-loved childhood favorite Kraft Macaroni and Cheese or organic Annie’s Mac and Cheese does, when you check the box, in fact have calories, calcium, grains, and cheese.
Let’s face it, man ‘n cheese is delicious to a particular set of Americans—you know, children. Does this mean children should consume it every day? Likely not, but it’s a free country, so I say do what you want. Some parents’ poor capacity to gauge risk prompts a false belief that one can eliminate risk by making all the “right” choices. Whether it’s avoiding cheese dust, spacing out vaccines, or monitoring your child unlike “those parents” in the Nationwide commercial, this new secular belief system isn’t making children safer.
Certain Foods for Certain Times
My mom made plenty of food for her children. Much to all parents’ chagrin, her children loved Spaghetti O’s, mac and cheese, and hot dogs. Somehow, my brother and I survived unscathed from those dark times and neither of us is obese today. Often before swim meets, my mom would let us have mac and cheese or Spaghetti Os as a carb loader. Instead of teaching us a poor habit, it made the connection right away that high-calorie treats were an indulgence or paired as a fuel for bigger energy expenditure like swimming.
Childhood shouldn’t be one mindless march from one kale-filled plate to the next. It’s okay to have some fun sometimes. Allowing treats in moderation will allow children to develop some impulse control for that moment when Michelle Obama cannot tell them what to eat. One suspects the model of the first lady monitoring every American’s food intake has some possible downsides and scalability issues.
Government Fails at Making Food Rules
Considering the reports of student athletes starving under Michelle Obama’s narrow-minded, calorie-restricted lunches, sometimes one wonders where the fuel for her “let’s move” campaign is supposed to come from? We’ve already laid the groundwork to forget why vaccines eliminated the measles, why are we now trying to forget that food primarily is meant to address hunger, not a lifestyle choice? The government has gotten food guidelines wrong for some time. Obama’s own guidelines are still pushing nonfat milk instead of the healthier full-fat milk. As NPR reported, “A study of children published in the Archives Of Diseases in Childhood, a sister publication of the British Medical Journal, concluded that low-fat milk was associated with more weight gain over time.”
The number of times we have rethought what is healthy is too many to recount here, but suffice to say it indicates that government is a poor arbiter of food health. The science isn’t settled and we learn more every day. You say cheese dust is a deadly killer? I say, show me the data. Your personal chef’s firm religious belief in the evils of cheese dust does not convince this nonbeliever. Until then, the mac and cheese will flow in this house.
Give Everybody a Break
Why would we want to take away simple foods that kids learn to cook first anyway? The motivation is high to learn to make something you love, and box mac and cheese is pretty much foolproof. Next Michelle Obama will be shaming me from passing down my grandmother’s “recipe” for kid pizza that uses jar sauce, shredded cheese, English muffins, and a toaster. She can come and take those memories of my grandmother teaching me how to make simple foods from my cold dead toaster oven.
Any mom knows that seconds can count the moment you hit the door at the end of day and everyone is hungry. Like it or not, box mac and cheese is like a defibrillator to calm the unruly mob. Sometimes you need to pull the emergency switch. We can’t all be fancy free-range, Whole Foods shoppers seven days a week. Sometimes the crew is plain hungry and you have nothing else on hand.
We live in a wonderful country that has an amazing bounty of foods in our stores, but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that everyone can afford to eat like Michelle Obama nor that we must or else it’s a great national tragedy. What ever happened to the traditional “there are kids starving in Africa” as the standard American parent talking point? This is just another way for one mom to shame other moms who make different but reasonable decisions. The first lady’s food privilege is showing, and her logic is lacking. The occasional cheese dust will not hurt any American. Now, kale—that could cause some real damage.