18 - 2010

Food Rules 16-18

This is my ongoing,11-week series about Michael Pollan’s book, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual.

The first 21 rules fall into a section called, “What Should I Eat? (Eat Food.).” This installment covers rules 16 through 18.

Rule 16: Buy your snacks at the farmer’s market.

Pollan’s point is that you’ll be eating fruit and nuts, not junk. I have a ferocious sweet tooth, but I’ve found that dried mango and dried blueberries work almost as well as a cookie. They still come in packaging, so it would be a great idea to shop for snacks at the farmer’s market this summer.

Or maybe it’s worth pulling out my last, wrinkly apples from last summer and drying them for real in the dehydrator.

Rule 17: Eat only foods that have been prepared by humans.

The alternative, to Pollan, is foods that have been prepared by corporations, which have no compunction about adding all kinds of fat, salt, sugar and preservatives to food. Of course, if you are a legal scholar, a corporation is a person, so the “human” distinction is important here.

The next few rules are variations on this rule.

Rule 18: Don’t ingest foods made in places where everyone is required to where a surgical cap.

Pollan doesn’t elaborate on this rule, which is perhaps more tongue in cheek than realistic. It’s difficult to find specific rules about hair covering; it appears that rules might differ slightly between states. The Web site Food Safety Source addresses the purposes of various food coverings, saying:

O.R. caps provide maximum protection, making them ideal for use near exposed food products.

As with all of these rules, this one has variations. For example, at my local Costco, the workers wear surgical caps and beard coverings, even though humans are preparing the food (not *manufacturing* the hot dogs, buns and soda, however, which gets to the point above). The fancier the restaurant, though, the less likely hair is covered with an OR cap … but chefs and cooks still have to cover their hair. In more independent restaurants, the cooks are likely to be wearing skull caps or baseball caps turned backward. This rule gets to the point that if all workers are required to wear OR caps, the place is likely to be so industrialized that the food isn’t good for you.

Now go enjoy a healthy snack … while wearing a hair net.

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