TND – Letter of the Law

January 20, 2011

Michael Pollan wrote a book a few years ago called Food Rules: An Eater’s Manuel. I’ll confess that I haven’t actually read it, mostly because the reviews I’ve read make me think that it’ll annoy me and I’m all about avoiding things that I know will irk me if they’re not essential to being a responsible adult. I mean reading the newspaper every day frequently makes me want to bang my head against the wall, but I still do it because see above about being a responsible adult. I can, however, avoid food manifestos without sacrificing a claim towards being a grown up. That being said, it’s fairly hard to read food blogs regularly without picking up on what some of the big rules are.

One of the rules is ‘Don’t eat anything you can’t pronounce. By which he probably doesn’t mean don’t eat French food. He probably means, d’on’t eat sorbitan monostearate (I have no idea what this is, but it’s an ingredient in CoolWhip which easily makes my personal top 10 of foods I try to avoid).

One of the rules is ‘You can eat anything you want as long as you make it yourself’. By which he means, as long as you put the time and effort into making french fries you should feel free to eat them because the time, effort and general mess that deep frying food occasions will prevent you from doing it all that often.

One of the rules is ‘Don’t eat anything your great-great grandmother wouldn’t have recognized as food’. By this I suspect he means make things from scratch using real ingredients. I’m assuming he doesn’t actually mean, use the same recipes your great-great grandmother used. That being said, I ran across a very entertaining article about doing exactly that. Someone took the rule and adhered to it letter and spirit and ate for a week like it was 1912. And at the end of the week she’d gone through ¾ lb of butter, was craving a seasoning other than salt, and desperately wanted a piece of fresh fruit (nice girls in 1912 didn’t eat fresh fruit, only farm hands did that).

Heavy on the butter: A week of eating like it’s 1912

I’m not sure what this proves. I’m right and reading the whole book will probably annoy me? Nostalgia is all good so long as it’s kept firmly in its place? That much as we might long for a simpler past what we’re longing for doesn’t actually exist outside of a Masterpiece Theater drama? That everything requires context? All of the above?

Picnic Chicken
Broccoli Slaw
Apple Sauce

Picnic Chicken

Recipe previously given: Masquerading as SND

Broccoli Slaw
Dinner was built around whatever it is that’s missing from my diet that left me craving raw broccoli.

Recipe previously given: Each Peach Pear Raspberry?

Apple Sauce

Recipe previously given: Bangers-n-Mash


Recipe previously given: Farewell to Summer Dinner



  1. My grandmother refused to drink water. “Water,” she said, “is for washing and swimming.” And that’s all she had to say about that.

    • Hah! The one my mother always quotes (that she stole from her mother-in-law) is that only farmers and truck drivers drink from the bottle.

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