City to Make Eating Disorders Mandatory by Law

I nearly fell out of my chair when I read this one.

We already heard the city wants to ban the use of trans fats in cooking - not to be outdone by the food fascism capital of the U.S.A., Chicago - but this may be going a little too far. According to Clyde Haberman in this morning's New York Times, the Bloomberg administration wants to implement a series of regulations that would control everything from the maximum thickness of a steak to the number of glasses of wine each diner is allowed with their meal. Other highlights: mandatory goggles for customers at sushi bars, in-depth examination of the Heimlich maneuver poster before seating, and decaf coffee only after 10 p.m. Worse, diners would be forced to eat whole wheat pasta.

Has Bloomberg lost his mind? I always liked the guy, but this is the kind of stuff fellow gazillionaire Howard Hughes would dream up. Though fantastical, the details in this column must be true. Even Jayson Blair couldn't invent something like the "P.M.I. - formally known as the Proper Mastication Initiative," which would require diners to chew their food for at least twelve seconds before swallowing. (Um, that's not what we meant by slow food.) It takes a government official to think of that hooey.

Aren't New Yorkers neurotic enough? Is it necessary to actually sign neuroses into law? Haven't people's eating disorders and weird diets done enough damage to the city's restaurants?

It's kind of fun, however, to imagine the enforcement of these rules. An entire new class of restaurant worker could be created - think of the jobs! Now each table would be served not only by a waiter, a sommelier, and a maitre d', but perhaps a uniformed someone-or-other who discreetly interrupts to remind you to . . . chew your food and - are you listening? - don't talk with your mouth full! Now look at the Heimlich poster. What are the steps? Now tell me without looking. All right. Put down that wine. Haven't you had enough? Watch out for those chopsticks - you're going to put somebody's eye out!

Whew - where did that come from? Channeling a Philip Roth character there. Anyway, I really look forward to the passage of these new regulations. Restricting people's personal choices about how they live their lives has always worked well in America, the country that never listens to anyone, no matter how right they may be. After all, it worked with foie gras in Chicago, right?

Oh, whoops. Sorry, Charlie.


Anonymous said...

OMG. I sent that to all my friends because OMG, no, no, no. Absolutely NOT!