Before the nation's Food Nanny guilt-trips you into ditching boxed dinners on a frazzled night, know this: The first lady profited from cheese dust before she was against it.
In the new issue of Cooking Light magazine, Michelle Obama takes another sanctimonious stand against processed foods. The occasion of this latest hectoring is a month-long celebration of the fifth anniversary of her Let's Move initiative. This time, she spins a slickly crafted tale of how her former personal chef challenged daughter Malia several years ago to turn a block of cheese into powder. "She sat there for 30 minutes trying to pulverize a block of cheese into dust," Mrs. Obama claims.
"She was really focused on it, and it just didn't work, so she had to give up. And from then on, we stopped eating macaroni and cheese out of a box because cheese dust is not food," snob momma Obama pontificated.
Hey, Michelle Antoinette: Shunning convenience foods is easy when you've got a taxpayer-subsidized cooking staff whipping up four-course feasts every night. Those boxed meals you spit upon are affordable and easy to store, and last a long time. For someone who pretends to be sympathetic to working-class and middle-class families, Her Royal Highness sure has a funny way of showing it.
But the faux populist narrative must be spoon-fed to the masses. Cooking Light's editor marveled at how "real" Mrs. Obama is and how genuinely "personal" her government health crusade is. Yahoo News similarly gushed over the nation's enlightened "family meal champion" and touted the five-year anniversary of her "pivotal" Let's Move initiative.
Message from sycophantic foodie and women's magazines: Michelle Obama is just like you and me! She's an ordinary mom who cares!
Except she's not.
Before she was wielding the power of public office to dictate school lunches and castigate junk-meal makers, Mrs. Obama profited from the very same processed food industry she now demonizes. What none of the fan-girling mainstream journalists who've covered her Let's Move anniversary campaign has bothered to mention in their glowing profiles is that "cheese dust" was gold dust for the Obamas.
The first lady may not think it's food now, but powdered edibles provided hefty financial sustenance for her family 10 years ago. It's just one of the many tasty perks of political influence Mrs. Barack Obama has enjoyed in her adult lifetime.
Let's move? How about let's remember, shall we? In June 2005, a few months after her husband was elected to the U.S. Senate, Mrs. Obama snagged a seat on the corporate board of directors of TreeHouse Foods Inc. Currying favor, the food-processing company put her on its audit and nominating and corporate governance committees despite her complete lack of experience or expertise. For her on-the-job training and the privilege of putting her name and face on their literature, the company forked over $45,000 in 2005 and $51,200 in 2006 to Mrs. Obama -- as well as 7,500 TreeHouse stock options worth more than $72,000 for each year.
Mrs. Obama raked in that easy money thanks to the worldwide conglomerate's popular product line of powdered non-dairy creamers and sweeteners, hot and cold cereals, evil macaroni and cheese, skillet dinners, powdered gravy and sauce mixes, powdered drink mixes, powdered soup, and puddings.
She certainly didn't look down her nose at milk dust, cheese dust, juice dust, oatmeal dust or broth dust when it came mixed with a healthy paycheck.
I wouldn't begrudge Mrs. Obama's enterprises, except for the fact that she's using taxpayer money and public office to shove her highbrow tastes and control-freak ideology down our throats. More offensive: Constant posturing from the White House about the need for jobs, while Mrs. Obama now sneers at the food-processing industry that put money in her designer pocket. Kraft Foods alone employs 103,000 people, with manufacturing and processing facilities worldwide, and reported annual net revenues topping $40 billion.
When you look past the phony concerned-mom costumery, Mrs. Obama's healthy living campaigns are all about control and cash flow. While she food-shames the rest of us, her Partnership for a Healthier America charity is a conduit for corporations and lobbyists to buy access. Her Fed Foods racket is pulling in millions of dollars from secret donors and nonprofits.
Mrs. Obama's self-aggrandizing food elitism is hard for ordinary Americans to swallow, no matter how much truffle oil her personal chef drizzles on top.