In Defense of Food

So I’ve just finished my fifth (!) book about food. Really now, five in a row! Someone please hand me a piece of fluffy fiction! First it was The Omnivore’s Dilemma, then Heat, then Tender at the Bone, then Animal Vegetable Miracle and now In Defense of Food. All of them were fantastic reads and I’d recommend every last one of them. And each one has altered the way I buy food, cook food, or even just think about food. It’s made our grocery shopping trips completely different than what they were two years ago. I mean we’ve always grown much of our own produce and gone to the farmers markets on a regular basis, but I’m guilty of buying the crud when I found a good bargain.

I don’t have to explain my thoughts on food to most of you because I know you, feel much the same as I do and have read many of the same books, so I’ll just share this quote from In Defense of Food that I thought was beautiful:

When you’re cooking with food as alive as this—these gorgeous and semi gorgeous fruits and leaves and flesh—you’re in no danger of mistaking it for a commodity, or a fuel, or a collection of chemical nutrients. No, in the eye of the cook or the gardener or the farmer who grew it, this food reveals itself for what it is: no mere thing but a web of relationships among a great many living beings, some of them human, some not, but each of them dependent on each other, and all of them ultimately rooted in soil and nourished by sunlight. I’m thinking of the relationship between the plants and the soil, between the grower and the plants and animals he or she tends, between the cook and the growers who supply the ingredients, between the cook and the people who will soon come to the table to enjoy the meal. It is a large community to nourish and be nourished by. The cook in the kitchen preparing a meal from plants and animals at the end of this shortest of food chains has a great many things to worry about, but “health” is simply not one of them, because it is given.


Filed under books, what we've learned

7 responses to “In Defense of Food

  1. Heat is on my list but I’ve read all the others. I love Ruth Reichl and saw her last year. She was such a well spoken advocate for local foods I wanted to hug her. Thank you for the beautiful excerpt from MP. I’m going to post it on our fridge.

  2. All great, great books. That is the perfect quote from In Defense Of Food. That book makes you realize how crazy we’ve gotten as we think about food. We are terrified of it and just shouldn’t be. It’s pretty simple. Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

    And maybe sometimes lots of ice cream.

  3. I loved Animal Vegetable Mineral. I saw Barbara Kingsolver speak when she came to Santa Rosa and I was really impressed by her and her family. I am planning to read In Defense of Food and another Michael Pollan book, The Botany of Desire this summer. That is a lovely quote. Can’t wait to read the whole book!

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