Friday, August 1, 2008

Summer Read: In Defense of Food

There are times when I think I spend too much time in the kitchen.  When I moved to Portland ten years ago, I knew I had a couple of choices as far as feeding myself.  I could live on frozen food, fast food, or improve my cooking skills.  The first two did not seem economical or healthy to me, so over the years I have shifted from the frozen fish sticks to finding great recipes for beans and greens.  I think I have done a good job over the years, but it requires a healthy investment of time.

When a co-worker told me about Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food:  An Eater's Manifesto, it peaked my interest.  I have always been on the lookout to improve my eating habits, so this seemed like a natural choice.  Between the covers Mr. Pollan talked about the politics of daily recommended allowances, the folly of nutritionalism, and how there is widespread confusion on what we should eat.  The author argues that we are not eating food, but 'edible food like substances'.  That the more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we become.  And as a rallying cry against the Western Diet, food industry and nutritional science, he offers the following mantra:  Eat Food.  Not too Much.  Mostly Plants.  It seemed fitting that a book about food would offer a sound bite as a panacea.  But I thought the author could do more to provide substance to this simple jingle.

I think that this book gave me some good insights to improving my eating habits.  I believe I benefit in my efforts to prepare meals from scratch.  However, I'm not about to go foraging in the woods for edible greens.  Nor am I going to get a spare freezer so I can purchase a whole hog, cut it up into parts, and freeze it.  My freezer is already full of frozen blueberries and garbanzo beans.  I want to improve my eating habits, but not squander too much time and energy on one aspect of life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Andrew- we buy beef and pork from an organic farm up near the Skagit River. The investment is worthwhile both in taste and health. I'm sure there are plenty of similar places in your area. We don't buy a whole hog, but we are thinking about getting a 1/4 cow which would last the four of us the better part of a year.