Jessica's Reviews > Food Rules: An Eater's Manual

Food Rules by Michael Pollan
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's review
May 02, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: food-writing, nonfiction
Read in May, 2012

I first saw Food Rules: An Eater's Manual, the illustrated edition, at an Anthropologie, where it was probably tucked between a rooster shaped butter dish and a soy lavender candle, which should give you an idea of the intended audience of this book. Anyway, I was intrigued by it, so when I saw it on the new books shelf at the library where I work, I picked it up and read it while cooking dinner one (last) night. I've always been intrigued by Michael Pollan's books, but I haven't read them because a) I already mostly agree with the general message of not eating processed foods, but b) I don't feel that I'm in a place financially to totally change my lifestyle. Food Rules: An Eater's Manual, then, was a nice opportunity to wet my feet, so to speak.

The general message, as I've heard is true in Pollan's other books, is thus: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." And the food rules are over a hundred ways to say the same thing: don't eat processed food, practice moderation, and don't eat things that are bad for you. But I have to admit that a lot of them were very clever: things like, stick to the outside aisles of the supermarket (produce, dairy, meat--avoid the inside aisles, which tend to contain processed foods). Or "make all junk food yourself." Because if you have to go to all the trouble to make ice cream, desserts, fried chicken, chips, etc. you won't end up eating it very often. (To which I say: try me.) Or "don't eat anything you see on TV."

The end result is reduced down to some clever sayings, all of which could easily fit on a poster (and that is Pollan's intent). If you're looking for substantive scientific research, don't look here. But if you're looking for a fun little coffee table book for a healthy-minded flexitarian hipster friend, check this out.

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