Real Food by Nina Planck caught my attention recently on a bookstore’s shelf. The cover photo (a pleasing still-life featuring milk, olive oil, cheese, greens and more) and the blurbs on the back told me that here, at last, was a serious look at worthwhile food, the kind that nature made.
Although I care about sustainability, my number one criterion for food is that it tastes good. The decades-long effort to reduce our collective body mass index through such abominations as fat-free cheese and sugar-free sweets has been an abysmal failure. That campaign also is frequently at odds with the even-longer attempt to make cooking easier and faster—and, usually, saltier and fattier.
Real Food addresses the question, “What happens when people eat food—all of it—that’s like the food people ate for millennia, before we came up with all those fake foods in the 20th century?”
Planck’s short answer: We eat better, feel better and avoid heart disease.
The book seems to have gotten less press than I would have expected (although it has appeared on numerous blogs). Consequently, I decided to talk about the book more than I could in a single post, and I’m going to do my first blog series on Real Food. This post is the first installment. More will follow in the next several days, although I’m planning to mix the installments with other material, for the sake of readers who don’t care about what Real Food has to say.
My abbreviated review
This book is worth reading for anyone who loves food or is concerned about their health and diet. As she tantalizes us with stories of delicious dishes, Planck turns the contemporary popular wisdom on its head where fats and cholesterol are concerned, and she uses lots of scientific research to support most of her claims. The biggest flaw, though, is that she barely mentions the roles of overeating or inactivity in America’s obesity, diabetes and heart disease epidemics.
Series posts coming up
After all parts have been posted, I’ll put links in so that you can reach them all. Here is what to expect: