Friday, February 26, 2010

Silence of the yams

I've been reading Michael Pollan's latest book, Food Rules, when I'm on the bus or sitting quietly at home. It's entirely different from his last two books that I have read, The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food. Both of those books are long and involved, with lots of references and places to go for more information. That is not to say I didn't enjoy both of them immensely. This one is based on his seven words about how to choose what to eat:
Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.
The book is divided into those three parts, with little sayings at the top of each of 64 Food Rules. The title of this blog is from Rule #8:
Avoid food products that make health claims.
He says that really good foods don't need to make health claims, because they are not usually in a package. Only the big food manufacturers have enough money to get FDA-approved health claims for their products. From p. 19 of the book:
The healthiest food in the supermarket -- the fresh produce -- doesn't boast about its healthfulness, because the growers don't have the budget or the packaging. Don't take the silence of the yams as a sign they have nothing valuable to say about your health.
Another thing I like about the book is that he isn't an absolutist, he just asks that you read the book and take at least one thing from each of the three sections. The book takes only a short while to read, but it's a lovely thing to carry around with you to start conversations. Plus it helps to be chuckling at some witty thing Pollan wrote to lighten up your day. Eating well doesn't need to be a grim business!


  1. Definitely going to check this book out. It sounds like a good read.
    Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  2. I love the "silence of the yams!" Priceless.

  3. Sounds like an interesting book, I too has been reading food books not cook books. Everything I need to know about food it's uses, nutrients, origins. It's a Chinese book and until now I am still reading it when I need to know something.


  4. I will definitely get this book. I had heard of it and forgot to pursue getting it earlier. Thanks for the reminder. I love reading about nutrition, anyway. (not that ever do anything about it - but I try)

  5. I just read "Choosing a New Home" which I found fascinating for a variety of reasons. Then I came here and read this post and found it jogged my brains more than I had expected. If I were you I would take "Choosing a New Home" from that other blog and bring it over here and make it one of the "new" Pages things -- where you write a special post and it is linked in the sidebar. I think it is important to know more about you and where you chose to live is a bonus.

    Bellingham is about the only place I have been in Washington that I remember. A friend lived there I visited. I spoke at a college there or maybe a university. Don't remember.

  6. This sounds great. I'm in the process of overhauling our diet and this sounds like a great resource.

  7. I am a huge fan of fresh produce, but I usually buy too much and then some doesn't get used in time so some is thrown out. That is hard for someone like me to throw food out. So lately I don't go into the produce section. Yams are so good aren't they? And turnips and spinach and kale and squash. Darn, I guess I really like veggies and I need to get some this week.

  8. Just the title of this post made me laugh!!

    The book sounds good and certainly worthy of a read. Thank you!

  9. This sounds like an interesting read, I'll look for a copy. I love the title of your post.

  10. I wrote this great comment and then my connection went out :( anyway, I love Michael Pollan, can't wait until I can get my garden going!!

  11. I will check this one out!! Thanks!!


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