The Newspaper Hack and the Heart Attack

The job hazards of being a food writer aren’t discussed very often, but make no mistake: After coal mining, crop dusting, and working as Naomi Campbell’s personal assistant, food criticism is right up there with the rest of the deadliest professions.

Case in point is a piece by the Washington Post’s David Hagedorn, who tells a harrowing story of steak-and-cheese-induced heart trouble and how it put him on the road to healthy eating.

The piece starts with a bang, as a post–heart attack Hagedorn flashes back to a particularly telling line from one of his recent columns:

I can see the e-mails already. The fat! The eggs! But the fact is, hollandaise is worthy of an occasional guilt-free indulgence.

Hagedorn’s prescription: a double handful of cholesterol and heart meds, plus chicken fajitas, avocado ranch dressing, and pan-seared halibut. It’s both distressing and fascinating to watch a guy who lives to eat suddenly have to eat to live, and Hagedorn should be applauded for putting the nuts and bolts of his postattack lifestyle down on the page for our edification. There but for the grace of God ….

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