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Should the Food Rules Be Revised?

July 9, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen Michael Pollen wrote Food Rules (subtitled an Eater’s Manual) it seems basic. Easy. Should it be revised to reflect further identification?

For example, rule number two:

Don’t eat anything your great- grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.

While warning of the evils of processing, I think of my great-grandmother’s time frame. I didn’t know my great-grandmother, but I think she would have been amazed at the variety of foods available. Would she recognize macaroni and cheese? Yes. Does it matter if it came from a box from Kraft or from scratch with real cheese? I doubt it. But great grandma wouldn’t waste NEARLY what today’s consumer does. Don’t like lean finely textured beef because it’s called pink slime? Suck it up – she’d call it making the most of the beef. She’d use the brains, organs and other things we don’t like to think about like the cheek pieces (all edible!) and she’d marvel that they make it edible in meat sticks. Scrapple on the menu – bring an appetite. Want to trim the good stuff and relegate the rest to “dog food?” That’s not what my great-grandmother would do…and she’d probably give an earful for wasting food too! There would be no pork this time of year because there wasn’t refrigeration. There would be abundant fish, turtle, rabbit, probably raccoon and opossum. Many game options were available and she didn’t have berries in January and if she didn’t preserve food herself there was much less in the way of options.

How about number eight?

Avoid food products that make health claims.

So avoid kale, most cereals and…well…many things developed because people were fearful of not getting enough nutrition, dating back to grandmother’s day. Added vitamins and nutrition. For what it’s worth, I back off of some of these – I don’t think I need calcium in orange juice when I can get it in dairy and other foods. But that is my choice – and clearly there are many who do want calcium added to their orange juice or such a product wouldn’t be on the store shelves!

There’s number thirteen.

Eat only foods that will eventually rot.

Ever seen the refrigerator of many workplaces, dorms, kitchens? Pretty much all of it becomes a science experiment eventually…preservatives may stave off the action but it doesn’t stay the same forever. Why would anyone keep fast food sandwiches and document lack of changes anyway?

There’s number 17 – I got this one!

Eat only foods that have been cooked by humans.

As much as I’d like to say otherwise, dogs don’t cook. In fact they’d eat it and leave me without dinner. I haven’t seen non-humans in there cooking either. Of course the warning is people not corporations…but corporations employ people. Salt has long been used as a preservative. Sugar and fat, also, extend the shelf life, which is what people want. Most do not want to do like my grandma did and spend Monday making all the pies, breads, and other baked goods for the week. Although we offer some goodies, it’s for a small amount of people.

Although some might think this is picking on Mr. Pollan, I’m not. I am, however, trying to inject another viewpoint to get people to think. I actually agree with many of the food rules. More people should get freezers and stock up, buy closer to the source, pay attention to portions. However, I am just a peon farmer working to provide food choices. Why should someone alter their life because of what I say? No reason. No reason charismatic journalists and media people should carry any authority either, though.

The Food Rules is a start, but should be adapted for every person out there. We all have different tastes, choices, preferences and health issues. Great grandmother would be in awe of the amount of food, and the ease of preparation. While we seek the “old fashioned food” taste I think the time saving options would be something she would like. At least for part of the time. The food preparation, storage and increased safety would be of comfort for her family.

Sometimes not all rules work for all situations.

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