Sunday, April 25, 2010
Readers may be more familiar with his The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, or more recently his book turned PBS documentary, The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World. Similar to these two works, In Defense of Food examines food from social, cultural and scientific perspectives. But more specifically, in this, Pollan presents a fascinating analysis of the American diet: how we eat, and how and why our eating habits have changed since the mid-20th century. He balances this history by presenting a series of "rules" for eating (which he's recently condensed into his book Food Rules: An Eater's Manual). Things like,"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants"--the line with which he opens. To the more humorous, "Don't eat anything your grandmother wouldn't recognize as food." It's all fairly common sense stuff--but utterly fascinating. If nothing else, readers of Pollan's work will become more cognizant of the food they eat. Devotees (like me) will find themselves taking a more action-oriented approach: reading labels, planting a garden, shopping locally, eating organic, and spreading the word. Highly recommended.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
At heart, Coop is a story about farms and families. Perry's memoir moves back and forth between his current life with wife Anneliese, as they raise daughters Amy and new baby Jane, and his own life growing up on a farm. My favorite section is undoubtedly Chapter 5 which describes the at-home birth of Jane. Perry's recounting is touching, beautiful, vivid, inspiring. But my overall impression of the work always comes back to Perry and his relationship with daughter, Amy. Amy is present in nearly everything Perry experiences, and its her presence and free-spirit which gives awareness and meaning to the very simple pleasures of farm life which he describes. Perry is nostalgic in these moments, but with the mark of a great writer, he never over-sentimentalizes. A good read for anyone who's ever lived on a farm, raised a family or just has a natural curiosity.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Part II of Glee begins next week on FOX. In the meantime, check out Part I on DVD, or either of the two tv soundtracks, at your local library. You'll be oh so happy you did.