Monday, September 19, 2011

Wine Read: "In Defense of Food"

Ok, so this isn't really a wine book.  Oops!  But it does feature wine!  Regardless, I think the message in this book is an important one: eat food, real food.  

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
(Photo from Google Images)

Michael Pollan has long been one of my favorite authors with The Botany of Desire and The Omnivore's Dilemma (I am a foodie, after all...).  However, it took me awhile to finally pick up and read In Defense of Food: An Eaters Manifesto.  And I have to admit that of all his books, this is the one I'm most disappointed with.  My disappointment comes from some of his statements that I believe are more opinion than fact, and I think he is using such opinions to scare the average American.  However, it is very difficult to make sound arguments against the overall point of this book: "Eat Food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants."

In the final section of the book, Michael makes an argument for drinking wine on a daily basis.  While science argues about the benefits and risks associated with drinking alcohol (i.e. one day it prevents cancer and the next it causes cancer), Michael points out the general observation that those cultures that consume wine on a daily basis tend to have lower rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Have wine with dinner!
(Photo from Google Images)

He makes a sound argument that it is not only the food you eat, but indeed, how you eat it.  After spending some time in Europe, I can understand his point.  We would sit for long evenings enjoying wine and our meal. Often, groups of us would talk while preparing dinner and over dinner for hours.  We hardly ate alone.  Wine was always available.  (As were other beverages, but I digress...) 

A group of us after dinner in France - note the food + wine!

I'm attaching this book to my blog because I believe in the message.  Although I have a degree in Food Science and do take offense to some of Michael's blanket statements, I obviously see the importance in spreading the word that Americans need to eat more food, real food.  And I too remember the joy of the American dinner.  It wasn't until I was older that I started understanding just how precious that time with my family was.  I can appreciate, now, all the time and effort my mom put into making our family meals nutritious and, well, worth it.  I cherish that hour with my family now, and I always look forward to those moments where we can share a meal again.  And I adore the fact that now we talk about the wines I usually bring.  Years ago, I didn't have that.  In some way, it makes me feel like I contribute something to the family unit.

What is real food, you ask?  Well... you're going to have to read the book!

Family Meal at Christmas 
(Photo by author)

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