I was ready to dislike Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto before I even picked it up.
While I mostly enjoyed his previous book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, I felt that he did an awfully complicated song and dance in the steakhouse chapter to try and justify eating meat. Then I read a quote from In Defense of Food by another blogger which said “Don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food”, which riled me up excessively.
My own grandmother was all about baking fresh bread, canning tomatoes and picking blueberries, but she was also of a generation that fully embraced the new convenience foods. Not to mention that until 1973, she had never lived in a house with indoor plumbing – with four sons to feed, and then a handful of grandkids, can you blame her for throwing store-bought cupcakes and frozen pizza at us? The woman had to boil her dishwater on a kerosene stove!
Turns out Pollan’s quote is actually about GREAT-Grandmothers, which makes a heck of a lot more sense. Well, unless you factor in the lack of indoor plumbing (those great grannies would likely have been all over the Twinkies too!).