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Friday, March 23, 2012

Restaurant Critic Gets Gout

Posted By on Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 8:19 AM

Frank Bruni.
  • Frank Bruni.

Seems about as obvious a chain of events as Paula Deen getting type 2 diabetes, doesn't it? Wait, didn't gout disappear in 1782? (The restaurant critic writing this post grows a little sweaty, flexes toes to make sure they're not producing burning, stinging pain.)


Unfortunately not. Yesterday, former New York Times restaurant critic and Born Round author Frank Bruni announced that he had been diagnosed with gout five months ago. "When gout pays a visit to one of my feet," he wrote, "I can't stand on it or put a sock on it or even place a thin sheet over it; pretty much all I can do is stare at it, swear at it and bang my fist on the nearest hard surface while waiting for the industrial-strength anti-inflammatories my doctor has prescribed to kick in."

The diagnosis has forced Bruni to give up much of the red meat, shellfish, and alcohol he consumes, all foods that -- according to him -- made life worth living. Which is where Bruni deserves a heap of credit. When faced with his own gout diagnosis, meat-ophilic food blogger Josh Ozersky asserted, "I won't be altering my lifestyle at all." And for all the good that Paula Deen's diagnosis may someday do for her diabetic fans (once she starts writing healthier recipes), she was rightly pilloried for refusing to admit that her sugar-and-fat-intensive cooking was at least partially responsible

Bruni, however, responds to a lifestyle-induced health condition the right way: He changes his lifestyle:
You never really quite appreciate just what a cornucopia of food alternatives exists -- just how many culinary directions you can set off in -- until a few are cut off and you're forced to re-route yourself. That's a lesson that people with celiac disease and with diabetes have learned. It's what vegetarians have long asserted. And it's what gout is teaching me.
Congratulations/sympathies to Bruni. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to inhale a bag of kale.

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Jonathan Kauffman

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