How it all went down

Reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan for Jeane’s DogEar Reading Challenge.

DogEar ReadingChallenge

I am anxious about food-type books (because I love food), and I was planning to put this off to the very end of October, except someone has a hold on it at the library.  So if I don’t read it by 18 October I am out of luck.

11 October 2009

8:30 PM: Exciting.  My very first book about food except for Fast Food Nation, which let’s face it, I skipped a lot of that book because it gave me unhappy feelings.  I start reading and am startled to find that it is rather enjoyable.  I fetch my already-half-empty-from-when-I-bought-it-on-Saturday-morning box of Famous Amos cookies to munch on while I read.

8:45 PM: Food science must be a trying discipline.  Michael Pollan is making excellent points.  How can a study of diet possibly be any good, when people lie like liars about what they are eating?  Plus, you can’t isolate nutrients from the foods they are in!  That doesn’t make any sense!  I cannot believe I have put credence in these studies that say that more of those fishy omega things are good for you.  Next time I see a study that says a specific nutrient will lower your chances of heart attack and cancer, I will take it with a very large pinch of salt.  Thank you, Michael Pollan!

9:00 PM: It occurs to me that Michael Pollan might frown on the number of Famous Amos cookies I have eaten.  I inspect the box and it is closer to empty than it was before.  Surely Michael Pollan would understand that when your football team has suffered a defeat as ours did on Saturday, particularly when the only touchdown of the game was achieved by their team fouling our defense guy (Hawkins, I believe it was) but nobody noticed, and now everyone is going on and on about Florida’s crucial win at LSU even though if LSU had won by having an unspotted foul they would have all said This is a bad win and not one that LSU can be proud of because they are the most overrated team in the SEC (ARE NOT) – I’ve lost track of this sentence.  Anyway I bet that if Michael Pollan knew all of that, he would say, Go ahead, Jenny.  Eat up all those Famous Amos cookies.  You still have chocolate pie in the fridge if you need dessert later on this week.  So I finish up the box of cookies, and then go upstairs and wash my hair.

9:45 PM: Oh hooray.  I love it when this happens.  I am all clean and my teeth are clean and my hair is clean and it is not even ten o’clock yet.  It is cool enough outside that I don’t need the AC but do need pajama bottoms; and with my ceiling fan on and one blanket on top of me, I am the comfiest I have ever been.  GLORIOUS.  I can read In Defense of Food until eleven when I must go to sleep to get my eight hours of sleep.

10:00 PM: Michael Pollan loves omega-3 fatty acids like whoa.  He says that studies have shown that diets with lots of omega-3 fatty acids are correlated with lower risks of heart disease and cancer.  WAIT A SECOND.  Michael Pollan, what happened?  I thought we agreed that we didn’t like those “studies have shown, etc etc this nutrient gives you good health”.  Remember, you talked about it, and I thought you were right, and we were going to take them with a pinch of salt?  What happened to that?  I TRUSTED YOU AND NOW I HAVE NO MORE FAMOUS AMOS COOKIES.

10:01 PM: I switch to reading John Harwood’s The Seance.  The heroine is pretending to be her baby sister’s ghost.

12 October 2009

2:30 PM: I have had a half day, enjoyed a pleasant yogurty lunch with my mother, and made Halloween plans that involve a margarita.  I believe that puts me in a good enough mood to carry on reading In Defense of Food even though Michael Pollan betrayed me by saying all about omega-3 fatty acids and heart attack studies even though he said that those studies were silly.

3:30 PM: Hum de dum.  Michael Pollan says I have to eat more vegetables and fewer Famous Amos Cookies.  But I much prefer Famous Amos cookies to vegetables.  DIFFICULT CONUNDRUM.  Time for a break to watch one episode of The Office.

4:00 PM: Well I can’t stop with that one!  Dwight just left, and plus cause I am cataloging my books!

5:00 PM: Okay, right.  Back to my book.  I had a break to eat my dinner which was spinach and apple and pecan salad, so I have no guilty feelings as I return to my book.  Though I have put the oven on preheat in order to make cheesy fries.

5:30 PM: Michael Pollan says, Processed foods are bad for you, and you should not eat unless your stomach is saying I AM HUNGRY SO HUNGRY MM FEED ME HUNGRY HUNGRY HUNGRY.  Okay.  I have learned a useful lesson from this book.  I am hungry but maybe not hungry enough, so okay, no cheesy fries for me even though they are delicious.  Next time I make cheesy fries they have to be made out of real potatoes that I chopped up and everything.

5:35 PM: Michael Pollan says, Have a glass of wine with dinner.  I will have a glass of wine for after dinner.

5:45 PM: Maybe two.  I don’t actually have any wine glasses so that was champange flutes so that was really small even though I drank it really quickly.

6:00 PM: MICHAEL POLLAN IS NOT THE BOSS OF ME I CAN HAZ CHEESE FRIES IF I WANT THEM SO THERE MICHAEL POLLAN YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS OF MY STOMACH NYAH NYAH NYAH.

6:05 PM: I decide now is a really good time to write a review.  While my cheese fries are baking.  Y’all, this blog post is the bloggy book-review equivalent of me drunk-dialing you (dialing is a really hard word to type, y’all).

6:37 PM: Wooooo, my head is heavy.  Oh yeah.  Publish post.  I should do that thing where I make links to other people’s reviews but my head is heavy and my cheese fries are tasty…

  • Pingback: DogEar Reading Challenge « Jenny's Books()

  • awesome review, you are the best.

    thanks for making me laugh at the computer by myself, after gorging on mozzarella cheese sticks (the kind you buy at the frozen store and heat in the oven. But I dipped them in salsa, they’re vegetables, right?) And I had wine with them. Red wine has the good stuff in it I’m sure. Hopefully, because I had a lot of red wine yesterday.

    • This was the most validating comment I have ever received. EVER.

  • Hilarious! You should meet my son. Tomato ketchup and carrot cake are honorary vegetables in this house. He won’t go near anything green because he knows for sure it will kill him. And when he was a baby his favourite snacks were toothpaste and my copy of the London A-Z on the back seat of the car. I shudder to think what Michael Pollen would make of him. He would really, really love your cheesy fries, I know that much. 🙂

    • I have actually grown into liking a lot of proper foods as an adult. I used to loathe spinach but I have come to love it best of all the vegetables in the world. But I still have a weakness for fantastically unhealthy things like chocolate cream pie and cheesy fries. Sometimes in the same meal.

  • Ha ha ha ha. I am so glad you made me laugh because right now I’m worried about my daughter’s fever. But okay- yeah, Pollan makes me think way too much about what I’m eating. And I did notice some contradictions, too. Grain of salt for every study. Remember when it used to be all cholesterol-free foods were fad? and before that bran? and now it’s the omega-thing. Cycles of thinking, or branding, or whatever. I’m tired, so I probably shouldn’t be typing. But I’m glad you read it. Want some more Pollan recommendations? Botany of Desire is funny and weird and interesting and not really a harrangue (sp?) about what you can’t eat. It’s about why corn plants think they’re taking over the world! (among other things).

    • I hope your daughter feels better soon!

      Botany of Desire sounds interesting, and I did enjoy Pollan’s style of writing. Maybe I will go crazy and read two books about food/plants this year.

  • I agree with you and with the comments. The one thing none of these food books and diet books seems to take into account is that food like cheese fries and cookies are good, and food like celery and cucumbers suck! Thank heavens for the antioxidants in red wine to fight all the free radicals in cookies! (and if you eat the dough raw, does it still count?)

    • You have made me crave cookie dough! I am brilliant at eating cookie dough – when my friends and I went on our senior trip to Disneyworld, we ate loads of cookie dough and watched Interview with a Vampire, and I was the only one who didn’t get all nauseated and regret the cookie dough. Yummy. Though I believe if I’d had wine with it, things might have gone differently. 😛

  • Fantastic review! I’m on holiday in Scotland and am eating everything that is put in front of me, with lots of wine and stuff of course, and not blinking, even when my husband hummed “Bright Eyes” to me while I ate confit of rabbit.

    I conclude from this that no-one is boss of my stomach either (though probably someone should be…..)

    • Someone definitely should be in charge of my stomach. I eat way too many cookies, and I suspect more cheese than I really need. (And not enough of my spinach salads.)

  • Eva

    LOL

    I read one of Pollan’s other books and didn’t like it at all.

    • What one of his books did you read? I enjoyed this despite the problems I had with it – though a lot of the things Pollan said would make you happy (like gardening your own food) sound really like they would make me sweaty and tired and cranky.

      • Eva

        I read Botany of Desire. I feel like it was false advertising…it was billed as ‘how plants have adapted to use humans’, but it was mainly about humans. Hmph. And there was an odd story about this time Pollan grew pot in his backyard that left me without much sympathy for him. Not because I’m morally opposed to marijuana, but because I’m morally opposed to dumbass things! lol

        I like it when my friends garden and give me their food-it’s delicious! But my back couldn’t handle gardening. And I don’t really like dirt…

  • this was very fun and very entertaining! I just ate chocolate pudding for breakfast. cooked pudding – which I think, even tho the mix was from a box – makes it better than the packaged pudding in the cute little single serving containers. Which I buy in the refrig section. Non-refrigerated pudding in single-serving containers are (is?) just plain nasty. imo.

    • Hm, this post has turned into a processed-foods confessional. I bet this would chagrin Michael Pollan’s dazzle rather severely. But chocolate pudding for breakfast sounds AWESOME.

  • I have read and enjoyed The Fortune Cookie Chronicles probably because I can identify with the subject matter. It’s fun to read how Chinese food has assimilated and become a form of mainstream American diet. Fast Food Nation was a fun read, in fact, a requirement for a sociology course in undergrad. The Julie Powell book, however, was such a nightmare–didn’t like her voice and was fed up with her self-absorbed and making-everything-such-a-big-deal attitude.

    • My mum read Julie & Julia – she said that the author was way oversharey. I know it’s hard in this age of communication to be oversharey, but I think when you’re writing a memoir, it’s important to guard your loved ones’ privacy even if you don’t care about your own.

      The Fortune Cookie Chronicles sounds like fun though!

      • Schatzi

        I actually read the J&J blog, and don’t think I ever want to read the book. She really was a self-absorbed trauma queen.

        • I might still read it. I enjoy judging people. 😛

          • Schatzi

            There’s is that, yes. Which is why I’m still on the hold list at the library for it …

            :p

  • Schatzi

    Superfunny to the max. I lawled in my pants!

  • Mum

    Julie and Julia was bad (she IS self-absorbed and does not protect her very long-suffering husband), but Perfection is far, far worse. That part where she is cruel to the six-year old daughter of the Other Woman is the nadir.

    • That was worse than anything possibly ever. So mean.

  • So funny! I felt the same way reading this book — sort of guilty, sort of indignant, and sort of skeptical that what he’s suggesting could possibly work. Now I want cheese fries…

    • I did go to the farmer’s market yesterday. I shall have to make a habit of this & get my vegetables there every week. That’ll make me feel virtuous. 🙂

  • Hold on while I get back in my chair.
    This was great. I am actually sitting here inhaling a huge order of nachos with mucho cheese sauce and a side of … cheese sauce!!! Beer is a grain right?

    • Oo, yummy. I am not a big fan of beer unless they are girly seasonal flavored ones. I am excited about the autumn & the possibilities for pumpkin beer.

  • Pingback: Real-Time Book Blogging! « Tales from the Reading Room()

  • I hope you don’t mind, Jenny, that I posted a link to this post on my facebook page after I originally read it. I believe my entry for it said “Quite possibly the BEST book review I’ve ever read”.
    I absoutely adore our wriing, and eagerly look forward to each new entry you post!

    • You’re so sweet! I’m glad that my yearning for cheesy fries has resonated with you. 😛

  • Ugh…”your writing”, not “our wriing”. I need to proof before hitting submit:)