April 15 2014
The Tyranny of the Food Nanny
Ever wondered what the food nannies really want?
Just take a moment to read Michele Hanson's Guardian piece where she worries about food waste and declares "The state must act!"
Don't they realise that hardly anyone does as they're told unless they're forced to? Especially if it means less money and less of what they like. I long for a strict nanny state, to bring back rationing, so no one would be allowed to over-stuff themselves with great slabs of meat daily, or waste their crusts or peelings, reject twirly cucumbers..."
Yes, it must be grating to people like Hansen that the dirty masses don't do "as their told" by those who know better than them. Her flip reference to "force" doesn't really get into the details of what exactly that "force" would look like or what consequences or punishments poeple would suffer for noncompliance. Hansen's wish for a "strict nanny state" and a return to wartime rationing hardly conjures up the real meaning of those words: a totalitarian state.
Of course, Hansen's a bit odd. Interviewed last year for a Guardian piece on food waste, 70-something Hansen bragged that she doesn't have anything rotting in her fridge and that she's so keen on using up everything that she even reserves the outter leaves of cabbage for a special purpose.
I don't like to boast, but there is nothing going off in my fridge. Not a scrap. The wrinkled lemon doesn't count, because I swear I'm going to use it. I give spare salad to the daughter, toast stale bread for the dog, compost all peelings, grow my own grapes and apples, but I do have one rotting banana in the bath. I store my bananas there, because it's the only place the mice can't get them. My friend Rosemary and I feel guilty if we throw the outer leaves of cabbage away. They're very good for soothing engorged breasts. But we're in our 70s. Should we carry them around in case we meet a pregnant woman?
Food waste is indeed a problem and it derserves our attention. But the answer doesn't lie in taking away people's freedoms or treating grown adults like children in need of constant supervision.
There really is no problem is so great that it warrents those frightening solutions.