With the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shvat just a couple of days ago the festivities are set to continue into the weekend with food-related events on kibbutzim and elsewhere around Israel.
So while our thoughts remain on what we eat and where our food comes from, Green Prophet would like to recommend some seasonal reading material in the shape of Michael Pollan’s In Defence of Food which critiques Western diets and the modern obsession with nutrition:
“All of our uncertainties about nutrition e.g. what’s worse: fat or carbohydrates? should not obscure the plain fact that the chronic diseases that now kill most of us can be traced directly to the refined grains; the use of chemicals to raise plants and animals in huge monocultures; the superabundance of cheap calories of sugar and fat produced by modern agriculture; and the narrowing of biological diversity of the human diet to a tiny handful of staple crops.”
Pollan and his previous book, The Omnivore’s Dilemna, have been hugely influential in the emerging new Jewish food movement, at which organisations like our friends at Hazon are at the forefront.”
What struck me as I read this last section, is that Pollan’s approach feels remarkably Talmudic,” says Hazon’s Leah Koenig. “What else did the Rabbis do but seek to uncover existing universal truths and use them to shape a code of ethics and commandments for Jewish people to follow?
“We can only hope that Pollan will end up as Hillel, and Nutritionism as Shammai.
“After The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Pollan became a rebbe for many foodie Jews (myself included). We now look to him as our source of reason as we attempt to nourish our bodies and, hopefully, our spirits.
This status is only heightened by In Defense of Food – and it feels like Pollan is more willing than he once was to accept this role.”Hazon.
Buy the book In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto