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The Presidential Kitchen Cabinet
It would seem that there are much bigger issues for President-elect Barack Obama to deal with, but a number of foodies are urging him to put his food choices at the top of the list.
Alice Waters of Chez Panisse is raising her hand high, volunteering her culinary expertise along with that of Gourmet magazine editor Ruth Reichl and New York Union Square Cafe restauranteur Danny Meyer to be the guiding principles behind Obama's "kitchen cabinet."
"At this moment you have a unique opportunity to set the tone for the changes we need to make in the way our country feeds itself," Waters writes in a letter to President-elect Obama.
Waters isn't lobbying for the job of the White House Chef, but her message is simple: Get healthy foods in the White House—ASAP. This means local, sustainable and organic produce, which will support local farmers and their livelihoods. And Waters is not alone in her thoughts. In an article by the San Francisco Chronicle, Tim Ryan, president of the Culinary Institute of America, said the promotion of locally grown food also lends itself to the reduction of transportation costs an less of a reliance on foreign oil, both issues of national concern.
Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food, would like to see a White House Garden similar to Eleanor Roosevelt's. He and 89 other activists, including Chronicle Food Matters columnist Marion Nestle, signed a petition last week, urging the President-elect to choose a secretary of agriculture that will conserve a number of food issues, including the support of local farmers.
I don't know that this issue is one with which I am primarily concerned, seeing as how the economy is having such a toll on the average Joe that being picky about food is just not an option. But I am an avid supporter of local farmers and having a President who supports that effort would be oh-so-nice. Should this be a priority for the President-elect, when there are so many other pressing issues to deal with first?