Posted by: 4pack | February 6, 2010

“Ideal Diet” Book Review: “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual” By Michael Pollan

“This book has a kind of subliminal politics to it,” he told the crowd of more than 300. “It really is an invitation to a different group of buy food from farmers."


“Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Fresh from his appearance on an Oprah Winfrey show, food writer Michael Pollan drew a sold-out crowd Wednesday night in Petaluma to hear him talk about his latest book, “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual.”

The best-selling author and journalist wrote the slim, soft-cover book as a simple, concise guide to eating food that is not only healthy for the body but for the planet as well.

“I’ve read all his books, since ‘The Botany of Desire,’” said Bonnie MacLaird of Tomales, who attended the talk. “He’s such a great spokesman to introduce the world to the eat-healthy, organic movement.”

The book talk and signing, sponsored by Copperfield’s Books, was held at the Baker Creek Seed Bank, a garden store housed in a former Bank of America building.

Pollan was introduced by Petaluma Mayor Pam Torliatt, who summarized his new book by reciting its three main chapters: “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Pollan spoke for 40 minutes about “Food Rules,” which is a No. 1 New York Times best-seller. The book distills some basic cultural wisdom about food that can help people make better choices when they shop for groceries at the supermarket.

“It’s really confusing out there,” Pollan said. “Reading labels has really disconnected us from food….I went looking for another source of authority than nutritional science. Culture has guided people in what to eat for many, many years.”

For the book, which can be read in about a half hour, Pollan said he solicited rules from anthropologists, folklorists, doctors and grandmothers. He then compiled 64 “rules” that range from common sense adages like, “get out of the supermarket whenever you can,” to the comical, such as, “eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.”

“This book has a kind of subliminal politics to it,” he told the crowd of more than 300. “It really is an invitation to a different group of people…to buy food from farmers.”

By appearing on such popular shows at “Oprah” and John Stewart’s “The Daily Show,” Pollan has begun to enter mainstream American, bringing his radical call-to-arms for food reform to the conservative heartland.

He also was was prominently featured in Robert Kenner’s documentary film, “Food Inc.”

Pollan, who lives in Oakland and teaches at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, writes regularly for major newspapers such as the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. For the past 20 years, he has written books about the intersection of the human and the natural worlds, encompassing topics as diverse as food, cooking and agriculture, gardens, drugs and architecture.

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