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Another Notable--In Defense of Food

July 22, 2009 by PatLeach

A few months ago, I read "In Defense of Food: an Eater's Manifesto" by Michael Pollan, one of the titles on this year's American Library Association Notable Books list.

Pollan explains how decades of nutrition science, as covered in the media especially, have confused us about how to eat healthfully. Pollan wants people to eat food, and by eating a variety of food, they will receive the nutrition that they need.

I probably agree with his advice overall. I parted ways with him when he veered toward advice that seemed illogically anti-science or anti-modern. For instance, "Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food." My great-grandmother grew up in a sodhouse in rural Nebraska. I don't believe that limiting myself to her range of foods constitutes a good way for me to choose what to eat.

Even so, something about this book was oddly compelling. Especially in the first half of the book, I had that "I can't wait to get back to that book" feeling about it. Pollan held my attention. In the time since I read this, I've thought of it often.

This year's Notables List includes a couple of titles about everyday things--eating and driving, for instance. I appreciate these books that lead me to know more about these things that I already ought to know well.

Tagged in: Notable Books, Good Reads, nonfiction,

Comments 1

Jerry Johnston said:
Haven't read the book, but spent half of my professional life in the food biz. My personal habits are to eat mostly low on the food chain. But what food policy muckrakers often overlook in the criticism of food science is hunger relief. High nutrient compounds save lives. New plant hybrids save land. That's part of the food universe now, and should be considered by people criticizing food and plant science.

BTW, One of my grandmothers fried most anything, and the other ate a lot of liverwurst and braunswager (sp).

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