The first time I had the chance to know more of Michael Pollan's work was through a best friend who prepared a in-depth TV special feature about Slow Food. I was quite impressed with his ideas.
It took me a while to read more of his work. I found that The Botany of Desire was available at Netflix to watch instantly.
So, after watching, I was so intrigued that I immediately ordered his last book, Food Rules, published by Penguin Books last year.
It is most definitely suitable for on-the-go people. And very useful for all kinds of eaters to cooks, from mothers to chefs. Small, precise and one of the best things I can carry with me on a trip to the supermarket. You can also read it in parts; and if that is the case, kids' interruptions won't really affect your comprehension of the content of the guide. It also has some simple ideas and smart shortcuts that might help you to reconnect with the meaning of food. But most important of all: It is humorous.
So, one week after reading it, here are some of his tips that are really useful here, specially with kids. Those are:
- Best cereals are the ones that don't change the color of milk.
- Nobody really needs high-fructose-glucose-syrup.
- This one, I love: "It's not food if it arrived through the window of your car." I just have to find a fun explanation for the kids for this one.
- Treating treats like treats can be part of all days of the week that start with S.
- Buy your snacks at the farmer's market.
But above all, rule number 63, for me, is the one that really embraces one of the truths I believe: "Cook." And have all powers over what you and your family are really eating. And of course, don't forget to play and explore too...
Pollan's latest is very, ahem, digestible, and his complaint that choosing good food needn't be complicated resonates with me. When I hear people fretting about the quality of our food, I worry that it often comes off as sanctimonious, a real turnoff. I think Pollan avoids that, but then I'm on his side, so my view may be skewed.
I find myself getting sad and/or angry when I face aisles of endless options of prepackaged foods -- like that scene near the end of "The Hurt Locker," as James is trying to pick out cereal. The real turning point came a few years back: My youngest threw up when he had anything with a trace of oats, dairy, soy, or corn -- including corn syrup. I found exactly one brand of unrefrigerated bread that didn't have corn syrup. And that's when I started making my own.
We're lucky to enjoy plentiful, year-round farmer's markets here, and that's a fun outing with the kids. They can pick out something to try, they chat with the people who grow it/tend to it, and the prices are better than market -- especially for places that follow organic practices but can't yet proclaim organic status.
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