Sunday, February 17, 2008

In Defense of Food (Book #15)

Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto (2008) has created a moderate stir online and around my husband's workplace (the UW School of Public Health). Pollan spends a lot of time blasting the nutrition industry and industrial agriculture, mostly for good reasons. We are as a culture, and increasingly as a world, eating ourselves sick.

On the whole, I agree with what he has to say. Sure, the bit about "don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food" would probably work better as "don't eat anything that wouldn't be recognized as food by at least one of a committee of great-grandmothers from the world's great cuisines." Because my great-grandmothers would probably have been wary of a garlic clove or an artichoke heart, and something like sushi would've sent them running for their Appalachian hills. (I'm actually with them on the sushi. Admitting it makes me feel positively backwards and uncivilized...but it's raw FISH. And it TASTES like exactly what it is, and has this raw and slippery texture.)

Anyway, I agree that we need to step away from the processed convenience foods, cook more, and eat locally when we can. It's just that I can't, personally, at this point in my life, do so to anything like the degree that Pollan recommends. My budgets for both money and time have their limitations. Pollan would probably think my priorities are out of order in that I'm putting my novels ahead of my diet, but what's the point of eating to live longer if I'm not doing the very activity I want to live longer so I can do more of, you know? (Though that last sentence makes me wonder if I'm really so good at the whole writing thing, but you know what I mean. I hope.) I'm trying to eat better, but that's the best I can do--better, not perfect.


Sarah said...

I started reading this today, and I find it really interesting.

Georgie Lee said...

It's hard to always cook but it is important. Though a cheeseburger every once is a while is good.

It took me a while to warm up to sushi, however, tempura shrimp rolls are a good place to begin. The shrimp is fried and though not technically sushi, it's still served at sushi restaurants :-)

Susan Wilbanks said...

No shrimp for me, either! I know I should eat fish and seafood, in general, because it's good for me, but both the taste and the slippery texture bother me.