Heart’s Desire: Theme Songs for February

President Obama declares February to be American Heart Month, as Presidents have done, at the behest of the American Heart Association, every year since 1963. And the AHA, in its advice to the heart’s discontent continues to chant its low-fat/low-salt mantra, which has been promoted and contested by any number of authoritative sources.

Meanwhile the National Snack Food Association, in defiance of all common sense, proclaims February as National Snack Food Month, with a handsome photograph on its web site of a great big bowl of potato chips—low fat? low salt? Hey, what’s that all about? Eat to your heart’s content. Heh-heh.

Is there some kind of irony in that?

National Snack Food Month, it seems, is built around the Super Bowl, an event that apparently takes place sometime soon. (I wouldn’t know, not being even minimally interested in football, professional or any other kind.) This is a holiday that exists in order to snack in front of the television set, two habits that go a long way toward explaining the mess we’ve made of our national diet and the health problems related thereto.

But before I get too caught up in the politics of food, let me just say that it is possible to combine these two great national celebrations, although I’m sure the Snack Food Association (sfa.org), whose stated goal in life, after all, is to promote snacking, like the Super Bowl enthusiasts, won’t agree. By snacking they mean not just potato chips but also Oreo cookies, Ritz crackers, pizza from Pizza Hut, and the following concoction which was listed on the website of CDKitchen as a “recipe” that is in the “easy” category. Judge for yourself: 3 cups white yogurt-covered pretzels, 2 cups bite-sized chocolate chip cookies, 2 cups mini chocolate-covered wafer candy bars (Kit Kat), and 1 cup mini shortbread cookies with chocolate center, all to be tossed gently and stored “tightly in covered container.” As my kids used to say: “Gag me with a spoon!”

And what, after all, is so wrong with an apple? No gentle tossing necessary, no tiresome cruising of supermarket aisles looking for bite-sized portions, not even the necessity of storing tightly in covered container. Pile up apples in a great big bowl and set them in front of the television set, if you must. Just a plain crisp and juicy apple—in all honesty, what better snack can you possibly imagine?

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    Reply leslie land February 6, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Take it from a MAJOR Steelers fan ( in spite of Big Ben’s Bad Behavior), snacks in front of the superbowl on TV are a treat I look forward to all year. We’re having leftovers of my spicy messy coconut shrimp – made with P. borealis in spite of their being ! 9 bucks a pound ! here in the HV – plus guacamole of course, with beaucoup de vegetables including home grown carrots to dip, also leftover grilled local pork chops cut in sticks and then rolled in something spicy that I haven’t figured out yet… maybe lemon zest, olive oil and Greek oregano, in honor of a certain good friend, etc. etc.
    But no matter what you think of football, TV, and other non-Mediterranean pleasures, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the great snack food counter-demonstration, going on all month over at Kitchen Gardeners International: http://20ate.org/

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