Archive for June 10th, 2008


Pollan’s Predecessors

June 10, 2008

After Michael Pollan wrote The Omnivore’s Dilemma a few years ago a lot of people complained that they were left in the lurch. They knew what and how not to eat but they didn’t know what to do about it, or how. One of the major criticisms was that being a locavore (eating within a specific radius from their home–a lifestyle that Pollan seems to advocate) was too elitist: it required too much work, it required too much time, and it required too much money. Where cooking used to be a hobby, Pollan seemed to be transforming eating into a hobby–that only a select few could enjoy.

In response to these challenges and/or because he can’t keep his pen off his notebook, Pollan came out with In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.

I heard Pollan speak at Butler a few months back where he explained from whence come our bad eating habits (Yeah, I said “whence.”) and how to correct them. I was experimenting taking notes on a handwriting-to-MS Word handheld and–um–let’s just say that I don’t have a lot recorded for the evening. The most important thing I took away was: Stay away from the center of the grocery store–shop along the edges.

Or, more succinctly, “Don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”

VQR brings up In Defense of Food in the context of one of Pollan’s predecessors, Rorty and Norman’s Tomorrow’s Food which has joined the list of books I am now hunting for in used bookstores near you.