"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." These are the first words of Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. Scott Brick narrates these opening sentences with slowly paced emphasis and a nicely modulated deftness, with a hint of coyness. The coyness is Pollan's. For what else can one eat but food? And why does eating need a manifesto? Pollan answers that we increasing do not eat food (whole food) but rather consume processed "food products". We are in "The Age of Nutritionism". Pollan's In Defense of Food is a richly developed polemic against the unhealthful food culture that the ideology of nurtitionism represents. The book is as well a de facto manual for growing and eating our way out of it.
Brick is a compelling spokesman for Pollan's argument. He brings to In Defense of Food a voice in the baritone-to-tenor range, with an always on-the-mark sonic focus matched with a point of expressive emphasis that constantly shifts, as Brick makes his flawless and fluent runs up and down and within his octave ranges. Brick's doing all of this can only be achieved by natural talent, disciplined training, and smart reading joined by a mastery of a quite large array of narrative and expressive skills.
It is very likely that somewhere in some academic haven there are specific concepts and a precise language that could quantify and describe what goes on with Brick's narrative voice. In the end, though, it all comes down to art. Using, with apologies, an extended metaphor, that of jazz: Brick picks up his axe (saxophone), fingering the notes and changing the octaves with the keys; with his fine set of chops (lips) applies the pressure onto the sax's mouth piece and reed, and, modulating the breath and applying nuances of feeling and expression, blows -- that is, in jazz-speak -- plays. The well-argued and passionate polemic that is In Defense of Food is, in this audio production, a show piece showcasing Scott Brick's narrative range and dexterity. David Chasey
In looking toward traditional diets the world over, as well as the foods our families-and regions-historically enjoyed, we can recover a more balanced, reasonable, and pleasurable approach to food. Michael Pollan's bracing and eloquent manifesto shows us how we might start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich our lives and enlarge our sense of what it means to be healthy.
©2008 Michael Pollan; (P)2008 Penguin Audiobooks
Narrated with an exactly appropriate tone, this book challenges our conventional view of eating, and encourages a return to the fundamental relationship man has with food. Pollan carefully reveals the catastrophic habits of the western diet, yet avoids condemnation, a pitfall of many proponents for organic health. Instead, he inspires the common man with an argument for simpler and better health, all based on a sturdy foundation of logic and current science.
As usual Pollan writes a meticulously researched book that is both engaging and thought provoking. The reader, while competently and clearly articulating, doesn't seem to personally connect with the material. .
In short: the garden. Everything I've read by Michael Pollan teaches me more about food, and what it means to be the human link in a complex world of food. As a total fast American, I suffer from fast food life too. This book made me consider how best I can use my time to get back to the garden, and back to the kitchen.
My fiancee and made a taco dinner last night in 10 minutes, with nothing but fresh chopped whole foods and organic taco shells. Is that really slower than waiting in line for take-out?
Solid follow up to Omnivore's Delema with lots of interesting data I never imagined which showed the level of research performed.
Not profound or particularly moving, but a good summary & synthesis of the current state of nutritionism and environmentalist agriculture. The gist of it is a bit daunting: basically find more time, more money, and do more work.
Full of lots of great information. Gets you thinking and motivates you to think about what you're putting in your mouth. Would definitely listen to more books by this author. Narration was great also.
I always enjoy Michael Pollan's books. Scott Brick is a good narrator. In Defense of Food focuses more on the health benefits of a whole food diet rather than the ecological benefits. Although I learned a lot from this book I still prefer The Omnivore's Dilemma and Cooked in terms of writing style. Pollan is an excellent storyteller and that doesn't come out as much is this book.
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