Ever since reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan I have become fascinated by the topic of food – how it is raised/grown, how it gets to our tables, who the intermediaries are, and what roles they play. So I now have a little stack of "food" books that I dip into randomly to gather more information and opinions.
The most recent Pollan book, "In Defense of Food," is the best written of my little collection. As a journalist, Pollan has all the writing chops; he knows how to make a mundane subject compelling. A much shorter and easier read than Omnivore, its theme is summed up on the front cover – "Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants." Of course the book expands on these seven words. Pollan defines "food," offers some ideas as to why so many Americans are eating too much, and expounds on the advantages of veggies and fruits. (just like Mom)
"Food Politics" by Marion Nestle is not so lively, but equally interesting if you can slog through the copious detail. Nestle is an academic and writes like one. She has studied nutrition for over 25 years, including much involvement with government programs that attempt to explain "good nutrition" to the public. As a result, she is able to provide a wealth of intriguing insights into the interaction between government and the food industry and some explanations as to why most published nutrition guidelines make little sense.
The most strident voice is Michele Simon, an attorney, in "Appetite for Profit." Perhaps biased by the cases she has handled, Simon sees "big food" as inherently evil. Not too much balance here. The most interesting bits are the case studies – who got sued, for what, how they responded, what negotiations ensued, and what was the end result.
That's the status of my journey into foodland. If anyone knows of other good books on these same topics, I'd love to hear about them.
Okay, now the spinning part. I have finished spinning the first ounce of "Say A Little Prayer." Only seven more to go. I do very much enjoy spindle spinning, but I must admit that the condition of my back after a recent episode of plying has me thinking that sitting at a wheel might be nice. (I ply standing on a stool. With arms fully extended I can then reach my seven-foot ceiling and let the spindle go all the way to the floor. This generates about two yards of plied yarn each time. If I do it 100 times I have a 50-gram/200-yard skein of fingering. Ooof)