Sunday, January 20, 2008

In Defense of Food

Read this book. Please.

Yesterday was a travel day for me; lots of time on planes and in airport lounges to read In Defense of Food, Michael Pollen’s latest. It’s an excellent read; well-written, provocative, and satisfying on many levels.

If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, you’re already familiar with my philosophy of food and eating. No surprise, then, that I thrilled to read this sentence: “For most people for most of history, gathering and preparing food has been an occupation at the very heart of daily life.” (p. 145)

I sometimes feel guilty that my day revolves around food, thinking about it, finding it, preparing it. Michael Pollan absolves me of this guilt, and in fact, confirms that this is actually a healthy impulse. He encourages us to think more about the source of our food, to shorten our food chains, to cook for ourselves. Here’s another sentence that totally gets me: “To reclaim this much control over one’s food, to take it back from industry and science, is no small thing; indeed, in our time cooking from scratch and growing any of your own food qualify as subversive acts.” (p. 200). Yeah, baby!

I’m here in Santa Fe to give a gardening lecture and spend time working (without the distractions of everyday life) on my next book. This morning I sat down to work on a chapter, but found that first I had to write this entry. I think that’s an acceptable distraction, since it’s relatively brief and also related to the topic at hand. (My book is a food memoir.) I feel newly energized and inspired to approach my own writing about foraging for and growing edible plants. Thanks Michael Pollan.


At January 20, 2008 at 8:14 PM , Blogger molly said...

INspIring! thank you. i've been meaning to read this, you know, squeezed in around all the other things...but, as well, i've been trying very hard to revamp my cooking (foraging, prepping) habits to improve our lives, too, what better way than the guiltless way?

At January 21, 2008 at 12:08 AM , Blogger Gardener of La Mancha said...

Cooking from scratch is one habit I am extremely grateful I picked up a few years ago. Better food, less waste, acquiring new's just the better way to go most of the time. And ya, I like being a rebel.

At January 21, 2008 at 12:20 PM , Blogger Leda Meredith said...

Oh, good! It's always nice to be encouraged to do what I would do anyway. LOL...I've been meaning to read Pollan's new one, and your positive review makes me even more eager to.

At January 21, 2008 at 1:38 PM , Blogger Ellen Zachos said...

The thing that's hardest about eating this way is that in real life I don't always have (or make) time to start from scratch. But this week in Santa Fe I have nothing but time, which dovetails nicely with having just finished the book. I can actually act on my motivation.

At January 24, 2008 at 3:09 PM , Blogger SaraGardens said...

I'm finally reading 'Animal, Vegetable, Miracle' - I love when she says "restraint = indulgence." I think even small acts of eating real food, from scratch, can be miraculous If one of the steps is foraging (even from a pot outside my kitchen door) - miraculous + off-grid thrilling. I hadn't thought of the subversive nature of it, but that definitely adds appeal!

At November 12, 2015 at 4:51 AM , Blogger Yellow Blade said...

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