Friday, March 08, 2013

Washington Post: 'Intelligent, Subdued Outrage'

NPR and Roger Ebert's site have posted some nice reviews on A Place at the Table.  But one of the more comprehensive reviews comes from Michael O'Sullivan from The Washington Post.  O'Sullivan not only reacts to the documentary (in a very positive way), but he offers some great background that supports the research and comments presented in the documentary. 

Here are some excerpts:

The root cause of this is manifold, as articulated methodically by documentarians Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush. They lay part of the blame at the feet of the Department of Agriculture for allowing its farm-subsidy program to be hijacked by big agribusinesses specializing in corn, wheat and rice -- the staples of the processed-food industry -- instead of family farms. The filmmakers argue, convincingly, that this has led to a situation in which junk food is cheaper to buy than healthy fruits and vegetables.

In other words, a bag of corn chips provides a bigger bang for the buck, calorie-wise, than carrots. That’s economically significant for a low-income family. Even food banks often are forced to stock nutritionally dubious -- and fattening -- items instead of healthier, lower-calorie products.

Jacobson and Silverbush take approving note of efforts to educate people, showing us a classroom of kids being introduced to a honeydew melon for the first time and loving it. On the whole, however, their film has a tone of intelligent, if subdued, outrage. It deserves to be seen, along with “Food, Inc.,” “King Corn” and other muckraking food docs of recent years.

One thing the movie does not get into is how junk food is not just cheap and fattening, but also addictive.

It's a great review. Click here to see the full piece.

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