By Michael Pollan; Penguin Press; $21.95
Michael Pollan’s newest book opens with the words, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” While this advice seems simple enough, In Defense of Food needs its 205 pages to explain why this has become so complicated to do. The book illuminates how we’ve gone from sharing sumptuous meals at the table prepared by our grandmothers or great-grandmothers, to eating what he calls “edible foodlike substances,” such as “Go-GURT,” in the car. His writing is a pleasure to read — informative, but reader-friendly and at times laugh-out-loud funny.
Westerners have paid more attention to the recommendations of food scientists, the government and the media than family recipes. Pollan, whose previous book was The Omnivore’s Dilemma, wants to fix that. He writes that the aim of his book is to “help us reclaim our health and happiness as eaters.” To that end he doesn’t just point out how we’ve gone astray through the years, but also provides solutions for how we can make our way back to the table and healthier fare.