An Omnivore’s Deduction – Part One

I’m reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma for my book club.  Michael Pollan, a Professor of Journalism, reports on his investigation for answers to the question the rest of us are usually too lazy to delve in to, ‘Where does our food come from?’  It’s an eye opener to say the least.  My worst suspicions are confirmed, stretched and tested.  But he gives hope and I love hopeful books.  He’s written another called In Defense of Food, An Eater’s Manifesto.  Just in time for the New Year when a lot of us are thinking (really hard) of dusting off the treadmill, Mr. Pollan came up with twelve ways (steps?) to eat better.  With all respect to Mr. Pollan, here’s my take on 1-6.  We’ll tackle 7-12 later:

1.  Don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. 
This is good, however, I would change this to "anyone’s grandmother" not just mine.  My Tita would not recognize sushi (Ummmm!  Teka Maki!) as food, but someone’s grandmother does!
2. Avoid foods containing ingredients you can’t pronounce.

I’m pretty sure Mr. Pollan was alluding to ingredients like ‘sodium caseinate’ or ‘aluminosilicate.’  Those appear on the label of the Coffee-mate in my pantry.  Yes, I confess, I bought it over a year ago when, due to a freak October snow storm (is that ever another story!), we were without electricity for over a week.  No fridge, no milk and I had to have milk for my nighttime tea so I settled for a weak (bleh!) imitation.  Back to Mr. Pollan…I don’t believe he meant to include ingredients like ‘cilantro’, which when I was a kid in Kansas, most natives did not know how to pronounce.  Their grandmother’s sure as shootin’ wouldn’t recognize it as food, either.
3.  Don’t eat anything that won’t eventually rot.

See ‘Coffee-mate’ above.  Also if you haven’t yet, get the DVD for Super Size Me!   As a special feature the guy who only ate MacDonalds for a month did a little experiment with the franchise’s french fries.  They totally defy nature which is very creepy.
4.  Avoid food products that carry health claims.

Yeah, I always wondered why most kids’ cereals made such a big deal about adding vitamins that were in the grain in the first place before they processed it.
5.  Shop the peripheries of the supermarket; stay out of the middle.

This is a good one, too.  In the middle of my supermarket, at the epicenter, the very heart, is Ice Cream, my nemesis.
6.  Better yet, buy food somewhere else: the farmer’s market or CSA.

OK, I love farmers’ markets, but, Hello!  It’s winter!  And what the heck is CSA?

To be continued…..

I Resolve…

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Why are we compelled to do the New Year's Resolution thing?  Isn't it annoying?  Usually it centers on self improvement which is boring.   Once a friend of mine resolved to eat better quality chocolate in the New Year.  Now that's a resolution I can get behind!  Today I decided wearing bolder colors would make a good resolution.  Busting out of the safe neutral zone has long been an ambition and this is my year to do it!

You might know from prior posts that I am not a good shopper, nor do I enjoy the shopping experience but this morning I decided to risk it, my trusty personal shopper by my side.    My daughter, Sofia, is not afraid to go where her otherwise intrepid mother fears to tread… the Mall.  But what else can a girl do when she gets gift cards for Christmas?  Sofia found a sweet "fur" trimmed coat in bright red.  All I wanted was a pretty sweater, black (I know!), to wear to work.  Fortunately the shopping fairy godmother had a better idea.  On sale, deep discount, a sharp burgundy velvet jacket called to me.  Sofia advises: never to buy anything that doesn't make your heart sing.  When I tried that jacket on I heard a heavenly chorus.  The color made me smile (I looked good!)  and I resolved to invite bold color into my life from now on.

So I encourage you all to discard any resolutions that makes you frown just anticipating the effort to accomplish it, like a nasty but necessary chore.  Instead choose something that makes you smile, that makes your heart sing; some little thing you've been wanting to do but have put off because it seems frivolous or selfish.  This is our year to let our light shine!

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