Food Rules

As a health-concious eater in South Louisiana, my appetite is constantly pulled in two directions. On my desk now, I have a copy of the delightful Prudhomme Family Cookbook, which calls for household lard in several recipes. I am also surrounded by plate lunches.

But also on my desk is Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. This simple book can be read in about an hour and highlights 83 eating “rules” based on wives’ tales, popular sayings of our grandmothers, and common sense. The book reminds me of the great 80’s manual Dad’s Little Instruction Book which imparted so much common sense wisdom that just felt “right.” Leafing quickly through the pages of Food Rules, reading tip after tip in succession, each rings true and a simple narrative takes form: eat real food, mostly plants, and not too much.

Here are a few of my favorite eating rules from the book:

2. Don’t eat anything your Great Grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.

6. Avoid products that contain more than 5 ingredients.

7. Avoid products containing ingredients a third-grader can’t pronounce.

13. Shop the peripheries of the supermarket. Stay out of the middle.

28. Eat your colors.

39. Don’t eat breakfast cereal that changes the color of your milk.

52. Have a glass of wine with dinner.

56. Eat when you’re hungry, not when you’re bored.

59. Don’t let yourself get too hungry.

78. Eat with other people when you can.

79. Treat treats as treats.

Check out Food Rules: an eater’s manual by Michael Pollan. It’s also beautifully illustrated by Maira Kalman.

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