Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual

by Michael Pollan, illustrated by Maira Kalman
ages: adult
First sentence: “Eating in our time has gotten complicated — needlessly so, in my opinion.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!

I suppose this is kind of an unusual pick for me, since I’ve been on board with Michael Pollan’s philosophy (more or less) for years now. And so, in many ways, this little “eater’s manual” is kind of superfluous, at least for me.

But, since I picked it for my in-person book group (I’d wanted to pick Kitchen Counter Cooking School, but the library only has one copy, and I needed something more accessible), I figured I needed to read it.

And while I don’t think I learned anything new, this lovely illustrated, slim book was simply a joy to read. Pollan’s taken his whole philosophy and boiled it down to seven words — Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants — and has 83 rules to help you follow that philosophy. In other words: he makes the complicated and long Omnivore’s Dilemma accessible for, well, ordinary people.

Which means that I hope people will read it, and we can have some good discussion. Because there are some good ideas in this book.

Oh, and as as aside: my favorite rule? I have three: #22, It’s Not Food if It Arrived Through the Window of Your Car; #57, If You’re Not Hungry Enough to Eat an Apple, Then You’re Probably Not Hungry; and #76, Place a Boquet of Flowers on the Table and Everything Will Taste Twice as Good.

Worth reading.

3 thoughts on “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual

  1. Have you read In Defense of Food? All the rules in this book are taken from it. Each of the rules are discussed in more detail in Defense, but I like the idea of a boiled-down guidebook like this one. I saw this at Half Price Books last summer, but didn't pick it up because I'd just finished reading Defense and The Omnivore's Dilemma in the past two months. Now I wish I had!


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