Since Barbara Walters is typically very diplomatic, she surprised me the other day by being rather hard on Paula Deen, who was appearing on The View to promote her new cookbook of lunchesand other meals aimed at children. Walters cited the increasing problem of childhood obesity and criticized Deen for promoting unhealthy eating. Deen couldn't defend herself much, other than to state that these dishes should not be eaten on a daily basis. I felt a little bad for Paula - sure, her recipes are loaded with fat and sugar, but she's not the one responsible for what America's children are eating. Some poor urban areas don't even have supermarkets, forcing people to buy whatever is stocked in small bodegas (with little fresh meat and produce), even if they'd like and can afford to buy unprocessed foods. Then there are people with more money who prefer the convenience of prepared and fast food, haven't trained their children to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and readily give in to kids' demands for fried, salty, and heavily-sweetened foods. Children won't be purchasing Deen's books; if their parents do, and prepare the recipes regularly, the onus is on them.
There is a rumor that Walters plans to leave the program when her contract runs out next summer. If she is in fact planning to retire (she's 79), perhaps she has decided she no longer needs to pull her punches.