Patti Small: "I go from market to market to market"

Welcome to another installment of “10 Words or Less,” a title that applies both to the questions I ask and the answers I hope to receive. Today’s participant is at the edge of my usual topics, but she does her business at farmers’ markets, and she’s interesting. Please remember: No counting! It’s a goal, not a rule.

Name Patti Small
Age 57
Town Bolton, Mass. 
Business “On The Edge Knife Sharpening.”
How long have you been doing it? “Three years.”
Where is your shop? “I don’t have one.”
Huh? “I go from market to market to market.”
Why? “I live out in Bolton. Who’s going to drive out here to get their knives sharpened?”

Praise is not a free lunch

I was one of those who expressed qualified praise for McDonald’s Happy Meal changes: Apple slices, smaller French fries, slightly better beverage options. Other commenters, particularly “Appetite For Profit” author Michele Simon, drew different conclusions, which she discusses in a blog post headlined, “Who Put McDonald’s In Charge of Kids’ Health?" at

I don’t know her, but I follow her Twitter feed and respect what she writes, including this one, even though I find enough disagreement in it that I feel compelled to rejoin, even on a day when I should be writing other stuff.

Let’s start with the headline: To my mind, we did. Doing nothing more than taking full advantage of the capitalist process, they advertised and promoted until we made them, via our billions and billions of purchases, the leader in fast food. They could have spent all that promotional cash and if we hadn’t bought what they were peddling, they would have failed. But we have bought, and now they have enormous influence.

Haves, and have nots

As soon as I'm done writing this post, I'm going next door to return the box of Trader Joe's Multigrain O's cereal I bought the other day.


It seemed like such a good idea when I saw it — perched colorfully with its identical siblings on the end cap — that I went for it, even thought I'd bought plain old regular O's at the Stop and Shop 15 minutes prior.

Both were for Joe, of course, who fulfills the kids-love-Cherios stereotype admirably. I knew he'd all those O's soon enough, and the TJ's box just shouted good tidings: Not only was it multigrain, but it promised 14 grams of whole grains per serving, 29 percent of the RDI for whole grains. (How whole grains appear in a box of O shapes, I don't know, but I'm sure they can back that up. I guess. I mean, they're marketers, not (outirght) liars.)

The package also cries out low fat in orange capital letters, on top of a list of 9 vitamins and minerals the cereal is "an excellent source" of.

So I was pretty surprised when I got home, though perhaps I shouldn't have been, that Trader Joe's Multigrain O's cereal, is a glazed sugary cereal. Sugar is the second ingredient, and brown sugar is the sixth. Every ounce has six grams of sugar.

Credit is due

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

I'm writing this one, briefly, I hope, because I believe strongly is sharing good news, and in spreading praise when it is warranted.

About 10 days ago, my son knocked over a cup of coffee into my laptop. More than $2 grand, less than a year old, equipped with an extended warranty useless to the occasion, and ruined.

I did what you're supposed to: I powered down and turned it over, even trying to dry it with a hair dryer. But, ruined it was.

I took it into the Apple Store and got the expected news: $1,250, flat, to repair it.

More science of food addiction

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It is very easy to get caught up in the excitement of being seen, especially by an entity with the broad reach of a national television network, but it helps me to get back, as quickly as possible, to the real issue, which is food addiction.

The core of my message, in "Fat Boy Thin Man" and on this blog, is that food addiction is real and that both for individuals and for all of us collectively, important changes will necessarily follow once we understand.


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