Tuesday, 20 October 2009

In Defence of Food by Michael Pollan

This book has changed my approach to food. Sure, there are some things I don't quite agree with (some scientific processes, after all, have made food able to grow in poor soil which has, I believe, meant that in some areas of some developing countries they have been able to feed more of their starving populations – do correct me if I'm wrong on this score), but the book makes some good points and has some sound ideas about food.

So, I am planning to make some changes – to the way I shop, to the way I prepare food and to the way I eat. This is partly making me feel terribly middle-class (some would argue that I am terribly middle-class, but I never really feel like it because I wasn't really brought up in that environment) and almost guilty for that (latent working-class guilt?!), but I am in a position where I am able to buy better food and am able to support local businesses and farmers if I choose to, so being in this position it seems silly not to do these things.

The changes I plan to make are: 1) buy more whole foods, 2) use the supermarket less, and 3) buy produce as locally as possible. I am investigating the possibility of getting a fresh produce box delivered to my home and we are talking about using the Coventry Market more (this will mostly require getting up early on a Saturday, as unfortunately it is all shut by the time we finish work – one of the difficulties with both working full-time!).

These changes will result in two major changes for me: the former will be that I will be cooking more from scratch; the latter will be that it will change some of my dietary habits.

I think sometimes I will find the former hard, but I am trying to make it easier by keeping on the top of the washing up (this admittedly isn't always my strong point!), meaning that I won't have yesterday's washing up to deal with before I start cooking, and planning some meals that are simple and quick to make (but without resorting to processed foods, obviously!).

The latter is going to be hard too. I have decided to buy real butter as opposed to the low-fat spread I currently use (and have done my entire adult life so far) and part of me is worried about the impact this will have on my weight. But I'm going to give it a go because I completely agree with Michael Pollan's views on "imitation food", and I'm attempting to eat less food on the whole.

I will of course document my progress with this in this blog, and perhaps I can inspire others to take up the beacon of real, locally grown food!

One blogger who is already doing this is Tom Baker, who runs Loaf Social Enterprise Ltd., a company committed to promoting locally grown and whole foods in the Birmingham area. I am, all being well, going to be attending the Loaf Cookery School in the near future to learn some bread-making skills! To find out more about Loaf and the courses they run please go to Loaf Online.

Buy In Defence of Food here, or visit www.michaelpollan.com for more information.

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