We are constantly being warned about the food we eat and the beverages we drink. Almost daily headlines warn of contaminated poultry, harmful additives in processed food, or dangerous levels of caffeine in energy drinks. Creative, deceptive advertising adds to our confusion — when is “natural” not natural? Oreo-Thins, anyone?
At least we can pay just as much attention to watchdogs of the food industry; those who look out for the consumer’s best interest and do their research. One such watchdog is Mark Bittman, the New York Times’ only columnist to cover the “food beat.” His latest book, A Bone to Pick, is a collection of columns from 2011-2014. The contents can be treated like a buffet, sampled here and there, in no particular order. The selections are thoughtful, enlightening, erudite, with touches of wit. They often produce “a-ha” moments or food for thought:
“It comes down to eat more fruit and vegetables and less junk and red meat. But, most people don’t.”
“Rule of thumb: avoid anything that didn’t exist 100 years ago. Eat a dried apricot (1 ingredient) rather than a fruit roll-up (13 ingredients, numbers 2, 3, and 4 of which are sugar of forms of added sugar.)”
“Food companies are well aware of the health crisis their products cause, and recognize that the situation is unsustainable.”
“When people cook their own food, they make better choices. We should provide food education for children … and cooking classes for anyone who wants them.”
“Lawns are an attempt to dominate and homogenize nature. Gardens, however, are “constantly reminding us of the complexities and poetry of growing food and eating.”
Take a look at what you eat, how you shop, and what you order in restaurants. Enjoy sampling A Bone to Pick, and read until you’re satisfied but not stuffed.