"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
"[Narrator] Scott Brick brings the necessary energy, pacing, and articulation to what promises to be one of this year's most popular and provocative titles.... Brick carries this manifesto against nutrition science and food manufacturers with the voice of indictment - unflinching, unflagging, and fired by conviction." (AudioFile)
I grew up in America in the 80's at the height of America's reinvention (or perhaps the acceleration) of what it considered heathy and what it called food. My mom, I very much appreciate, cooked us a hot meal every day. But as a newlywed, I was a little concerned that a third of the recipes I had accumulated began with a can of cream of chicken and chicken breast. When I spent time living in Japan, I was surprised how many of the "rules" of healthy eating that traditional Japanese cooking broke, but they seemed healthier regardless. Traditional Japanese cuisine included far more actual food, much more vegetables and much, much less sugar. It also tasted amazing. Pollan does a tremendous job of documenting how we got to be where we are dietarily (in America), and offers useful suggestions on how we can get back on course. Thanks to this book, I finally made it over to our local farmer's market, something I had been meaning to do for some time.
I would also highly recommend French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon (even if you don't have kids) for a fascinating inside view of how the French approach eating (and ideas on how we could improve our Western approach), and Culinary Intelligence (sadly not an audiobook last I checked) by Peter Kaminsky, if like me, you aspire to up your taste level in order to improve your overall well being.
Very interesting view on statistics manipulated by food products marketers and corrupt authorities. Manual on how to survive against the national epidemics.
as a cook I really see what this book is about. no one should be fooled to think the chicken from one establishment doesn't come out of the same truck as any other. as a restaurant it is hard to get food unless the purchaser or owner finds it themselves and then is able to crunch the numbers and put it on the menu which means a lot of logistics. but if the customer doesn't want it then a lot of loss. would be great to cook amazing things, but I also want to pay my powerbill and allow my children not live in poverty either.
Get educated and learn to cook! great book and great ideas. if you care about your health this book is the reality you need
I'm very interested in Western and my own consumptive practices. Also, I think it's much better to be informed then to be ignorant. The author provided an excellent explanation of what to eat and how to eat it, especially for those living in the West and consuming a Western diet.
It was a thought-provoking and attention-grabbing read. I recommended it to anyone who would listen, especially those who inquired. If taken seriously and honestly, the practice of the book's contents could greatly transform one's health for the better!
If I had the time, I would have preferred the print version just because of the narrator.
I really appreciated all the scientifically backed information that is presented in an understandable way without getting so deep into the science to lose the flow of the book.
No, the narrator did a fine job if he was reading Shakespeare or a gossip column. His emphasis on words made a well written book about something as every day as food seem really pretentious and stuffy.
Great book, really helps concrete the history of how the western diet was incrementally developed, where we went wrong, and how we can rationally eat to avoid the negative health effects. All while keeping eating a fun and fulfilling activity.
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