Thursday, November 13, 2014


I’m from Berkeley.  That’s both a credential and a disclaimer.  I don’t have a tinfoil hat.  T. and I laughed like maniacs about the person we met on the ski lift who wouldn’t drink milk because of the lactic acid in it.  Fluoridation doesn’t scare me.  However, I don’t believe that The Powers have my best interests in mind, particularly when it comes to the way food works in this country.

We all have to eat.  Choosing what to eat, how much, when, where, and with whom consumes plenty of our time.  It should be simple, but industry has spent a lot of effort working to deceive us with things that look like food but aren’t.  I’m not talking about cheese puffs, which don’t actually really look like food at all, but about the sugar-laden breads, the salt-infused snacks, and the rest.

Michael Pollan is a voice of sanity in the chaos.  His latest book, Cooked, describes his journey toward preparing more of his own food.  He discovered that by cooking he could improve his and his family’s health and wellbeing, spend time with his son, achieve some independence from the food industrial complex (I made that phrase up; blame me, not him), and generally improve the world.

Lest you think this is some boring do-gooder book, let me say that he is a hilarious writer.  His description of the taste of his first batch of home-brewed beer will crack you up.  He has adventures in pickling.  If you like his writing style, it is also worth checking out The Omnivore’s Dilemma for the section in which he goes boar hunting; I laughed until I cried and also learned things.

Also, he is realistic.  The man has a full-time job as a professor.  He writes books, which takes an enormous amount of time.  He doesn’t expect us to all go Mrs. Cleaver or Martha Stewart.  He talks about practical ways to make cooking work.

This is an essential part of fitness.  Consider reading it on one of your rest days.

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