You are what you eat.

Flickr: M.V. Jantzen

Ted's Bulletin, the Barracks Row restaurant where the shot was captured.

I love it when I learn the story behind a story– or a photograph, in this case. I read this New York Times article a few days ago, and I thought of two things, immediately. One: that picture looks familiar, like it’s from D.C. Two: I pitied the subject in it, who was shown eating chicken-fried steak plus macaroni and cheese. I remember thinking, “That’s probably her ‘splurge’ meal of the week, and they’re making her look really unhealthy in order to prove a point.” Thank you, TBD, for confirming my suspicions:

On Dec. 2 of last year, Elizabeth “Ellie” Bartels went to Ted’s Bulletin to celebrate her birthday. She ordered chicken-fried steak with applesauce and macaroni and cheese on the side. A photographer approached her and asked to take her photo for a “restaurant review,” she says. Bartels’ photo ended up running on a Dec. 7, 2010, Times article about the “many high-end junk-food purveyors that have popped up around Capitol Hill recently.”

(That article inspired one of the Washington Post’s Tim Carman’s better rants.)

Today Bartels’ photo is used under a headline few people dream of their likeness illustrating: “Government’s Dietary Advice: Eat Less.”

“I’m not terribly thrilled,” says Bartels, a government employee who lives in Adams Morgan. “I think it was just a poor choice of a pic to use.”

“It really felt like I was being shamed for having a one-off, indulgence which is something society tends to do with women,” she says.

Bartels is right. Women, minorities, poor people…no one in those groups should be treating themselves to indulgences in public. What will people think?