As I sprinted by my herb garden this morning, shivering and mentally cursing the weather because the temperature was still in the 20s, a perky little voice caught my attention. “Psssssst. Down here. Look at us. We’re coming to save you.” It was my chives, always the first green volunteers in the barren brown soil patch between the garage and the sidewalk.
My spirits warmed as I remembered my intention to spread the word about a brilliant book I just finished reading: In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan, the award-winning journalist (and for you celebrity buffs, brother of actress Tracy Pollan, Michael J. Fox’s wife).
Pollan, a contributor to the New York Times and professor of journalism at UC Berkeley’s graduate school, has been writing about food, agriculture, gardens, drugs, and architecture, for the past 20 years.
That Pollan felt compelled to write a book to convince us to eat real foods is, well, an indication of just how ludicrous and anxiety-ridden our relationship with food has become.
He fearlessly challenges the scientific-governmental-journalistic triad of “nutritionism” which is adept at isolating nutrients from food and preaches to the public that mere humans are not capable of feeding themselves.
And, at the risk of disappointing Mr. Pollan’s literary agent, I doubt that he’ll be able to sell foreign publication rights to the Italians. They already eat . . . no, make that savor and value . . . real food and have been doing so for thousands of years.
I hope that after you read Pollan’s sensible, good-humored, well-researched advice, you’ll feel as I do. We, the earth, our food crops and domesticated animals are all parts of a whole.
No one part can be healthy without the others.
You may just find yourself wanting to stick some chives in your garden-whether that’s an acre, a patio container, or a windowsill flowerpot.