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Whose Side Is Mr Potato Head On Anyway?

The National Archives in Washington, D.C.

I happened to be in our nation’s capital on Halloween last week (everyone there was costumed as a Republican Presidential candidate–or maybe everyone walking the streets there IS a Republican Presidential candidate).  I had a bit of extra time that afternoon and a sign for a new exhibit at the National Archives caught my attention so I went to check it out. For a former political science major like me, the National Archives is like the Sirens to Odysseus, so I was looking forward to cruising by and revisiting the Constitution anyway–it’s getting harder and harder to see it in action in everyday life.

Anyway, the new exhibit (open now through January 2012) is called “What’s Cooking Uncle Sam? The Government’s Effect on the American Diet.”   What a timely topic, I figured, in light of all that is going on in healthcare and health policy lately. The exhibit’s own marketing brochure says the exhibit is intended to highlight the US Government’s “extraordinary efforts, successes, and failures to change our eating habits.”

The exhibit traced America’s food policy initiatives from the 1800s through

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