The scope of poverty

It’s not just about soda

March 19, 2013

In a recent Big City column in the New York Times, Ginia Bellafante offered an unusual but compelling historical comparison: between New York City’s handling of the Typhoid Mary situation back in the early 1900s, and the city’s current attempts to regulate soda consumption.

Bellafante’s take? That the city is making the same mistake twice: first by essentially locking up typhoid carrier Mary Mallon for the rest of her life, and second by trying to prevent soda from being sold in large cups. Both cases revolve around diseases of poverty, and in both, the city has attempted a narrow solution instead of addressing the vast underlying problem:

The articulated goal should not simply be to create a population of poor people who are thin, but to create a population of poor people who are less poor. . . . It is hard not to wonder whether Mr. Bloomberg’s soda-limit initiative might have garnered more enthusiasm . . . if it had been delivered within the context of a more consistent and compassionate message about the city’s commitment to the underserved.
There is 1 comment on this item
Add a comment
1. by Caroline Cummins on Mar 21, 2013 at 1:04 PM PDT

Mark Bittman, on the other hand, thinks the ban on the soda ban is a bad idea.

Add a comment

Think before you type

Culinate welcomes comments that are on-topic, clean, and courteous. For the benefit of the community we reserve the right to delete comments that contain advertising, personal attacks, profanity, or which are thinly disguised attempts to promote another website.

Please enter your comment

Format: Bare URLs are automatically linked; use this style: [ "place text to be linked here"] for prettier links. You may specify *bold* or _italic_ text. No HTML please.

Please identify yourself

Not a member? Sign up!

Please prove that you’re not a computer

Culinate 8

Kale in the raw

Eight versions of kale salad

Eight ways to spin everyone’s favorite salad.

Graze: Bites from the Site
First Person

The secret sharer

A father’s legacy

The Culinate Interview

Mollie Katzen

The vegetarian-cooking pioneer


Down South

Barbecue, tamales, cocktails, and more

Local Flavors

A winter romesco sauce

Good on everything

Editor’s Choice