The holiday to Umbria wasn’t entirely about stopping and smelling the rosemary. I did some work too. Sort of.
In between dips in the pool, singeing my hair in a pizza oven and trips to hilltop towns, I read In Defence of Food by Michael Pollan.
It’s a book about food. Really, really about food. Proper food. More an extended essay than a fully-fledged tome, it is the most intelligent, impassioned treatise on the subject I’ve ever read.
With so much extraneous information bombarding us everyday, seeing the topic of food stripped down to its bare essentials is both refreshing and important. Crucial even.
Pollan writes about food with a sense of unhurried urgency and seemingly effortless intelligence. He is a man who, if you’ll excuse the pun, knows his onions. And shallots. And garlic and all other members of the allium genus. He knows what is wrong with the food industry and, more importantly, he knows how to fix it.
One of the criticisms levelled at many polemicists is that they are happy to point out problems and often less able to talk of solutions. Michael Moore, take note. Pollan does both with equal skill.
In Defence of Food is the sort of book that comes along so rarely it makes you want to buy copies for everyone you know, thrust it into their grease-flecked fingers and sit watching to make sure they consume it. And consume it they will.
It is, without a shadow of a doubt and no degree of hyperbole, the best book about food I have ever read. Ever. Now, go and get a copy, sit ye down and read it.
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