Monday, December 10, 2007

An Eaters Manifesto

I'm a foodie. I like good food. The Turkey we had a Thanksgiving costs 10 times more than Turkey's in the supermarket. It was a no antibiotics, cage-free, hormone free bird.

Stop and think about that. In order to tell you what our Turkey was, i have to tell you what it wasn't. Organic describes food that isn't sprayed with chemicals. Grass fed beef describes food in which the cow ate what it would naturally eat.

Even the word natural has meanings we don't fully understand. Calling a blueberry natural doesn't make sense.

Michael Pollan got me thinking about this. He has a new book coming out called: In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto.

Here's the book's description:
Because most of what we're consuming today is not food, and how we're consuming it -- in the car, in front of the TV, and increasingly alone -- is not really eating. Instead of food, we're consuming "edible foodlike substances" -- no longer the products of nature but of food science. Many of them come packaged with health claims that should be our first clue they are anything but healthy. In the so-called Western diet, food has been replaced by nutrients, and common sense by confusion. The result is what Michael Pollan calls the American paradox: The more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we seem to become.

But if real food -- the sort of food our great grandmothers would recognize as food -- stands in need of defense, from whom does it need defending? From the food industry on one side and nutritional science on the other. Both stand to gain much from widespread confusion about what to eat, a question that for most of human history people have been able to answer without expert help. Yet the professionalization of eating has failed to make Americans healthier. Thirty years of official nutritional advice has only made us sicker and fatter while ruining countless numbers of meals.
I love food. And I like the idea of getting tomatoes in December. But I'll admit something: a tomato in December is no match for a tomato off the vine in September. Taste that September tomato, and it immediately vaults into your top five all-time tomato (assuming you, like me, keep a running top-five of most moments).

I'm not suggesting we all change overnight. I'm suggesting we think about our food. It's true, we are what we eat. And if what we eat is completely processed, then we're all completely processed. And that makes no sense.

Think about your food. Start maybe with this book. Not because it will change your behavior, that's tough. Right now, we go to Wegman's. We also go to our little coop (that sources a little more locally), and a local produce place that also sources a little more locally.

We're making an eat local effort. And that is healthy, and normal. It's not really normal to get Asparagus from Peru in December.

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