Last weekend was yet another twenty-five cent book sale. I missed the month before because we had an ice storm that weekend. But I was tempted!
Anyway, the pickings were slim this time but I was happy to find this one.
Jane Brody’s Good Food Book. Good old Jane, the long-time health and nutrition columnist for the New York Times. She sort of rode the bandwagon as a big deal in the 80s as the stalwart champion of high carbohydrate living. A lot of people hold her in less esteem these days for that very stance.
But I like this book for a number of reasons. For one, it is full of good general information about food. All kinds of food. Fats, proteins, vegetables, grains, herbs. If you want to know about food, this is an excellent reference book. And it has good recipes too. Sensible recipes. Tasty recipes. I’ve heard a number of people talk down about her and this book because she trumpets high carb lifestyle. Okay, fine.
Here’s the deal. She advocates moderation and exercise and advises people to stay away from processed foods and too many sugary sweets and instead make food from scratch using whole grains and natural ingredients. We live in a world of fad diets. I have always struggled with weight and for me, the only way I seem to be able to lose and keep it off is Atkins. Low Carb. Sure. I can do it. It gets boring but I like meat, I like salads and veggies. Not as much as I like biscuits and cake but I can get by, for a while. You hear about Paleo. Frankly, I figure Atkins basically IS paleo. I have a book somewhere called Neanderthin … same deal. But the thing to remember when you want to tend away from grains and such is this: people who truly LIVED paleo, didn’t really live that long. Sure
But the thing to remember when you want to tend away from grains and such is this: people who truly LIVED paleo, didn’t really live that long. Sure Saber-tooth cats jumped out of trees but that only indicated that they ate simply because life was hard. Civilization didn’t come around until, guess what, they started growing grains. All this grain stuff didn’t just pop up in the last few dozen years, this grain lifestyle has been a predominant part of human existence for THOUSANDS of years. We didn’t start advancing as a civilization until we started growing and harvesting and sustaining ourselves with grains.
This isn’t bad stuff, really, but we’ve degraded. Sugars and genetic engineering and oddball fats and trans fats and … the worst of all … corn syrup derivatives (goes back to sugars, I know but they are much worse). I cringe every time I see somebody pick up a jar of “reduced fat” peanut butter at the store … because I know it has been processed with a hefty dose of corn syrup. Geeze, I want to tell them, pure peanut butter isn’t that bad. Check for evidence of trans fats but you don’t want that corn syrup. It is used to augment so many products, especially products being marketed in some way to make them appear healthier — when in fact, they are much worse. People are trickle fed corn syrup in alarming quantities — and then they wonder why diabetes seems to be on the rise.
Hmmmm, maybe growing grains isn’t good for civilization after all, maybe the faddists are right.
With Jane, you get none of that stuff. Back to basics. Portion control. A little of this, a little of that. Take a walk. Why do people vilify her? Because she’s an outspoken woman? I dunno.
I already had this book, BTW. I just picked it up because it was signed. As we all know, a signed copy is a “must buy” for that crazy cookbook guy.