Pollan's 'Rules to Eat By' Hard to Swallow

'Wise ancestors' Pollan advises emulating would have loved a Whopper
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2009 4:31 AM CDT
Author Michael Pollan arrives at a special screening of 'Food Inc' at the Angelika Film Center in New York.    (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
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(Newser) – Food industry critic Michael Pollan is compiling a book of "Rules to Eat By"—like "If you're not hungry enough to eat an apple, you're not hungry"—but his advice that you rely on your ancestors' wisdom for your eating decisions tastes a little off to Patrick Cooke. Cooke's grandfather grew up in the Depression when fresh fruit and vegetables were scarce, he writes, and "to him a Filet-O-Fish was a kind of miracle."

People back then ate "what they could, when they could" without consulting corny sayings, Cooke argues at the Weekly Standard, noting that his grandfather felt "awe and gratitude at delivery of such abundance" in modern supermarkets. There's nothing wrong with frequenting farmers markets as Pollan suggests, Cooke writes, "but there is more than one acceptable set of rules. Forget the scold. If you're not hungry enough to eat a Whopper, you're not hungry."