Americans and food: Together again?

Mmm ... butter.

Published September 17, 2008 4:40PM (EDT)

From the Dining In section of today's New York Times, positioned deliciously close to a piece about our fair city's first mozzarella bar (that's bar as in restaurant, not as in Twix), comes the kind of news that, while enormously welcome, you sort of wish wasn't "news."

"After decades of obsessing about fat, calories, and carbs, many dieters have made the unorthodox decision to simply enjoy food again," says the article, adding that -- due in part to the influence of books like Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food" -- Americans have begun to focus on what (seasonal, unprocessed) foods to add to their plates, not what to avoid or meter out in micrograms. (Though perhaps they will abjure the Franken-foods described in the section's cover story.) The report is based in part on research by the NPD Group, which has collected food diaries from 5,000 consumers since 1980.

Diaries, as you know if you've read Pollan, are notoriously unreliable ("Dear Diary, I lied to you yesterday about those Funyons"), but we'll take it. One person quoted, let's just say, has even "started [!] cooking with olive oil [!!] and occasionally butter [!!!]." Just wait till girlfriend tries burrata.

By Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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