I’m Sorry, Michael Pollan

Author Rowan Jacobsen takes on Michael Pollan's "Food Rules."

I’m Sorry, Michael Pollan

September/October 2010

By Rowan Jacobsen

I’m Sorry, Michael Pollan

I am a granola-eating, free-range-chicken-chasing, broccoli-hugging foodie. I recoil from junk food like vampires shun sunlight. You’d think me the ideal audience for Food Rules, Michael Pollan’s latest megaseller, which consists of 64 “straightforward, memorable rules for eating wisely.” But Food Rules awakened strange feelings in me. As I paged through the book, being advised “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food” (#2), I felt a big finger wagging at me. This was not having the intended effect. Instead, I’m sorry to say, it was awakening my inner Bart Simpson. Somewhere between “The whiter the bread, the sooner you’ll be dead” (#37) and “Eat when you are hungry, not when you are bored” (#47), I became consumed by the notion of breaking all 64 food rules in one day of gloriously irresponsible eating.

It wouldn’t be easy. It would take significant planning and discipline, as well as digestive fortitude, but I might just be able to do it. I would eat whatever I saw advertised on television (#11). I would eat it alone and bored (#59, #47). I would eat breakfast cereal that changed the color of my milk (#36), I would eat way beyond full (#46) and I would scramble to go back for seconds (#53) of a food that was incapable of rotting (#13).

Photo Credit: Mary Elder Jacobsen

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