A pie as my plate but there is no cake

It has been reported by various agencies that the Obama Administration intends to do away with the long-standing Food Pyramid (later dubbed “My Pyramid”) and announce its replacement this Thursday, a circular pie chart-looking thingamabobber.  Among the explanations I have read, apparently it will be easier for American consumers to understand — as opposed to that funny-shaped three-sided doohickie we have had for the past 20 years.

The obesity epidemic (and given that point, a round figure representing healthy eating seems ironic) is indicative that Americans are somehow incapable of eating a well-balanced diet.  Maybe they will be better able to understand the plate-chart.  Of course, this assumes that people eat off of plates instead of, oh, paper-wrapped sandwiches, burritos, and other foods given to the consumer in paper bags or on rectangular trays.  Might the people who actually make it a point to eat properly be a different audience than those who order lunch from the comfort of their automobile?  One does wonder…

Let’s consider how this has evolved.  First we had the Food Pyramid, and those food groups that should comprise the greatest portion of the diet made up the Pyramid’s base (those recommendation have been modified since).  Rather symbolic for the foundation of a healthy diet, eh?  Then we had My Pyramid, in which the food group portion areas were distributed in some sort of a fan-like prism way based upon your personal information.  And finally, we have — What will it be called?  MyPlate?  MyPie? — a schematic representing the same information as MyPyramid but in a more “well-rounded” way.

Or is it the same?  It seems there will be only four sections on “MyPlate”, and a little circle representing dairy will be on the side.  There is not space for cake or pie!  I am interested in the protein section, of course.  And, with the upcoming nutrition labeling requirement for the most popular single-ingredient meats, I have to wonder how long it will be before we see more “perfect portion”-esque steaks, chops, and other cuts available in the marketplace.

The alternative might be to embrace one’s inner Sweeney Todd and just make a lot of meat pies!  There.  Problem solved. My only question is … why wasn’t this announcement made on 3/14?


4 thoughts on “A pie as my plate but there is no cake

  1. Excellent point re: burritos, although the tortilla is round so I suppose those with sufficient time could spend some time dissecting the filling into component parts. There is a similar food pyramid in the UK – I do wonder how many people take note of these schemes when meal-planning? That’s a huge quantity of vegetables needed on the plate to balance the proportions of the 12 oz steak…

  2. Question which is off topic of this post…do you have a list of the abattoir’s in Central PA (close to State College) which slaughter Steers, Pigs, and chickens for small farmers who sell in bulk directly to a small number of customers (not at farmers markets)? I’m thinking along the lines of 3 steers, 2-4 pigs, and maybe 20-30 meat birds. The objective would be to specify the butchering instructions to meet the clients choice in cuts. For a steer the smallest selling unit would be 1/4. I’d love to see a list of the businesses in the area. Thanks!

    • Hi, Matt —

      In 2007 the state funded an “inventory” of Pennsylvania’s meat packing / processing infrastructure and it can be located here: http://www.rural.palegislature.us/meat_packing.pdf Names of establishments are not given in that document.

      Of course, your processing options are directly impacted by how you intend to sell your product. It seems as though you can sell whole animals (or sides, quarters, etc.) if you utilize a custom-exempt processor, yet you cannot sell meat itself in a wholesale or retail setting without having the animal slaughtered under USDA inspection. There is an exemption, however, for poultry in that if processing <10K birds per year, inspection is not required.

      For the sake of the matter at hand, see this document from AMI (2008-9 data) regarding the number of livestock slaughter establishments by state: http://www.meatami.com/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/62288 There are currentl (2011) ~90 USDA-inspected livestock slaughter facilities in PA and an additional ~160 custom-exempt operators.

      A listing of all USDA inspected slaughter establishments is located on FSIS' site: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations_&_Policies/Meat_Poultry_Egg_Inspection_Directory/index.asp It' not very handy but you should be able to search the PDF for PA options.

      Lastly, you might be able to access a membership directory from the Penn. Assn. of Meat Processors (pennmeatprocessors.org) but remember that this is not all plants, just member plants. Also, appreciate that many operator members do not necessarily want an online listing of their services, etc., because they do not want to be targeted by animal rights organizations (this is what they've told me).

      I hope this helps.


  3. Interesting as political correctness invades the Food Pyramid. Dairy will be out to the side? That doesn’t even make sense. Somebody probably got a multi-million dollar grant to turn it into a “pie” chart. I would have done it for a lot less. 🙂

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