Old and busted: the USDA food pyramid. New hotness: the USDA dinner plate. Hey, is that thing microwave safe?
Wow, what a breakthrough! And if the food pyramid had any relevance to diet selection for Americans, it might even have been worth the two million dollars the USDA spent just to design the logo. Yes, that’s right, it cost taxpayers $2 million for someone to draw a circle, cut it into four quadrants, and then attach labels like FRUITS and VEGETABLES. The $2 million didn’t just go into the logo design, though. According to the New York Times, they spent part of that money doing focus-group testing on circles with two lines, and on a Web site, too — as if millions of people will thunder to it to plan their dinners.
In all of the focus group testing, the USDA apparently never noticed that a circle cut into slices looks an awful lot like the meal planning the USDA was trying to discourage:
Some who have seen the logo compared it with a pie chart, though dessert is hardly the association that the administration would like to conjure up. Others likened it to a pizza cut into slices (equally unpalatable for officials). One person said it called to mind a painting by the artist Mark Rothko, who was known for canvases with blocks of color. Those who had seen it would speak only on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized by the administration to discuss it.
Oh, I don’t know — a pizza typically contains grains, meat, dairy, and veggies — and if you get it Hawaiian style, you can even have fruit. Instead of calling this the USDA dinner plate, why don’t we just call it Boondoggle Pizza?