I'm reading The Omnivore's Dilemma for my book club. Michael Pollan, a Professor of Journalism, reports on his investigation for answers to the question the rest of us are usually too lazy to delve in to, 'Where does our food come from?' It's an eye opener to say the least. My worst suspicions are confirmed, stretched and tested. But he gives hope and I love hopeful books. He's written another called In Defense of Food, An Eater's Manifesto. Just in time for the New Year when a lot of us are thinking (really hard) of dusting off the treadmill, Mr. Pollan came up with twelve ways (steps?) to eat better. With all respect to Mr. Pollan, here's my take on 1-6. We'll tackle 7-12 later:
1. Don't eat anything your grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.
This is good, however, I would change this to "anyone's grandmother" not just mine. My Tita would not recognize sushi (Ummmm! Teka Maki!) as food, but someone's grandmother does!
2. Avoid foods containing ingredients you can't pronounce.
I'm pretty sure Mr. Pollan was alluding to ingredients like 'sodium caseinate' or 'aluminosilicate.' Those appear on the label of the Coffee-mate in my pantry. Yes, I confess, I bought it over a year ago when, due to a freak October snow storm (is that ever another story!), we were without electricity for over a week. No fridge, no milk and I had to have milk for my nighttime tea so I settled for a weak (bleh!) imitation. Back to Mr. Pollan...I don't believe he meant to include ingredients like 'cilantro', which when I was a kid in Kansas, most natives did not know how to pronounce. Their grandmother's sure as shootin' wouldn't recognize it as food, either.
3. Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot.
See 'Coffee-mate' above. Also if you haven't yet, get the DVD for Super Size Me! As a special feature the guy who only ate MacDonalds for a month did a little experiment with the franchise's french fries. They totally defy nature which is very creepy.
4. Avoid food products that carry health claims.
Yeah, I always wondered why most kids' cereals made such a big deal about adding vitamins that were in the grain in the first place before they processed it.
5. Shop the peripheries of the supermarket; stay out of the middle.
This is a good one, too. In the middle of my supermarket, at the epicenter, the very heart, is Ice Cream, my nemesis.
6. Better yet, buy food somewhere else: the farmer's market or CSA.
OK, I love farmers' markets, but, Hello! It's winter! And what the heck is CSA?
To be continued.....