Skip to comments.Fried Potatoes Are Deadly, New York Times Warns as Hanukkah Nears
Posted on 12/02/2018 10:31:59 AM PST by SJackson
It may be the most strangely-timed article in the history of moveable type.
The New York Times has chosen the week before Hanukkah to publish a long article warning about the supposed health dangers of eating fried potatoes.
The article, though, doesnt mention the word Hanukkah or the latkes, or potato pancakes, often eaten to celebrate the Jewish holiday.
Its an article so clumsily timed it seems like a parody. Imagine the Times publishing an article warning about the health risks of turkey or pumpkin pie the week before Thanksgiving but with no reference whatsoever to the impending holiday.
Itd be one thing to publish such an article out of concern for the health of Jewish readers, in the vein of, Okay everyone, Hanukkah is coming. Dont eat too many latkes or you might be spending the fifth through eighth nights in, heaven forbid, the cardiac care unit of the hospital.
But, at least to judge by the language of the Times article, the newspaper manages to publish a pre-Hanukkah warning about the health risks of fried potatoes without anyone there even realizing that the holiday is coming. A newspaper once edited by Jews such as Abe Rosenthal, Max Frankel, and Joe Lelyveld, and once owned by the Ochs-Sulzberger family that had Jewish origins, now writes about fried potatoes the week before Hanukkah and discusses as possible toppings ketchup and mayonnaise and aioli without even a nod to time-honored latke accompaniments such as applesauce or sour cream or brisket juice.
I emailed the author of the Times article, Christopher Mele, to ask whether the article had been intentionally published to coincide with Hanukkah. He didnt respond to my inquiry by the time I filed this story.
The Times article comes off as either insensitively ignorant or as, maybe even worse, a subtle yet nonetheless unmistakable effort to throw shade at a beloved Jewish delicacy.
Even the science behind it is shaky. For its click-bait claim that fried potatoes are a weapon of dietary destruction, the Times relies on a study that, by the Times description, found that, controlling for other risk factors, participants who ate fried potatoes two to three times a week were at a higher risk of mortality compared with those who ate unfried potatoes.
But the study the Times cites wasnt a randomized trial that took the same healthy population and fed one group fried potatoes and the other group spinach, or white bread, or pastrami, or hot fudge sundaes. Instead, it was an observational study that relied on participants to self-report what they ate. That is an exercise that, when French fries or potato chips are involved, is as hazardous and potentially unreliable as polling people about their plans to vote for Donald Trump.
The participants in the study were already in poor health they were either obese or overweight, had knee pain, or had arthritis. Furthermore, the study acknowledges that the risk of mortality may not be caused by the fried potatoes correlation, in other words, doesnt equal causation. The study found, for example, Many factors could explain these findings. First, French fries and fried potatoes typically contain high amounts of dietary fat (including trans fat) and added salt, which may increase the risk of death. In other words, it could be the added salt on the French fries, not the latke itself, that is the danger. Or, the study says, people who consume fried potatoes more frequently might have other unhealthy dietary habits, such as increased consumption of processed red meat, salty foods, and sugar-sweetened beverages, which may increase the risk of death. In other words, its not the French fries that are so dangerous, its the Coke and the hot dog that are the rest of the meal.
The press critic of The Algemeiner is not a physician or a nutritionist. However, my own recommendation is that if we do our best to eat healthy during the rest of the year, a latke or two on Hanukkah is not going to kill us. In fact, this year, we may even be especially justified in enjoying them. It will be an opportunity not only to remember the miracle of Hanukkah, but also to demonstrate that no matter how hard The New York Times might try, we just arent going to let the newspaper ruin our holiday.
Too bad. I’ve got some with onions frying right now. Yum yum!!
Latkes are AWESOME——the NYT had definitely gone to the dark side.
How many participants paid taxes in one way, shape, or form? Maybe that killed them.
An editor at The New York Times is leaping to the defense of the latke after publishing a pre-Hanukkah article warning about the potentially fatal health risks of eating fried potatoes.
On Friday (Fry-Day?) the Algemeiner reported on the strange timing of the Times, observing that the article, which did not mention the upcoming holiday or its fried potato pancake traditions, might be interpreted as a subtle yet nonetheless unmistakable effort to throw shade at a beloved Jewish delicacy.
After the article was filed, we heard back from The New York Times with a response to our emailed inquiry about whether the timing was intentional. A New York Times editor, Patrick LaForge, assured the Algemeiner, The timing here is a coincidence.
(Or, as former deputy mayor of New York City Howard Wolfson put it on Facebook, sometimes a potato is just a potato.)
LaForge explained the articles origins as follows: We were brainstorming health story ideas, and everyone on our general assignment team agreed we loved fries too much but we just werent sure: how bad are they for us, really? Is there a safe amount? Are some types healthier than others?
The reporter who tackled the story, Christopher Mele, took up the challenge, but he has other duties so it took the story several weeks to land and we found ourselves faced with Thanksgiving. So we held it for a week that fell between holidays where people tend to feast, LaForge explained.
Now, I live in a mixed faith household and love my wifes latkes, so I think of them as a separate category from fast-food fries. They certainly taste better. If I had to guess, based on our experts advice, they are somewhat healthier than deep-fried fries if cooked in a skillet, LaForge wrote. He added that for the upcoming holiday, I will be eating latkes, more than one helping, and to hell with the experts. Happy Hanukkah.
Now there is one judgment on which the Algemeiners characteristically critical press critic can wholeheartedly and publicly agree with a New York Times editor. Such accord is unusual. If it doesnt quite rise to the level of another Hanukkah miracle, even so, its something to celebrate.
I think there is high correlation of reading the NYTimes and going insane.
Coming soon to a courthouse near you... class-action suits against McDonald’s as the nation’s top purveyor of the deadly side-order.
Wow! Who knew? Thank you so much our good friends at the Slimes! How would we EVER get through a day without you? Who says you are a dirty rotten bunch of lying bastards?
I think almost all of the standard wisdom about food is incorrect.
For one thing — vegetable oil? They say it’s good. It isn’t.
Lard? They say it’s bad. It isn’t.
High fat, high protein, low carb. A lot of people have figured out that this is a sold approach to nutrition. But if you ask your doctor, they are likely to disagree. Because they have been told, for decades, to push a false narrative.
You greedy son of a gun!!
What’s your address???
Better yet i’ll give you mine and you can mail them in a doggy bag :)
If you do not eat latkes you will die.
Whatever you eat you will die.
Eat whatever you will, while reading the Sefer ha‑Nefesh.
And have a Happy Hanukkah.
Of course, the major difference being that 98%+ of the country celebrates Thanksgiving. At most 2% of the country is in on Hanukkah.
Because it actually is just like the Times to be a dreary killjoy, fretting over any health risk imaginable—especially when the risk is identified through some poorly designed and interpreted research study.
Don’t forget the sour cream and applesauce. :-)
And I’ll be frying mine in chicken fat a little later. My mouth is watering already.
We had a friend who used to live here who invited her friends and neighbors every year to a Hanukkah party, and among other things always served latkes.
They are delicious. And so are French fries, although I seldom get a chance to eat them.
That’s all right. If the PC nutballs at the NY Slimes don’t want to eat latkes, it’s their loss, not mine.
Even more ironic, I get the NY Times cooking column, and right now they are featuring Hanukkah recipes, with latkes in the most prominent picture. Looks delish, of course!
Sometimes, you just have to say “Oh, hush!”, and disregard data from the chronically worried.
Coming Next: “The DANGERS of getting out of your bed each morning; What they don’t want you to know!!”
Whats the author talking about..
The Sulzberger family still controls the company. Carlos Slim owns a small chunk of class A non voting stock
The Sulzberger family and some directors own all the class B voting shares
The paper lost its moral conscience when Abe Rosenthal was forced out
He kept the paper straight
His epitaph and could not have been more accurate in every way
From my cold dead hands!
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