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Food Rules, Rule Number Thirteen

March 11, 2010

photo by Lorenzo González

“Woe is me! For I have become like one who,
after the summer fruit has been gathered,
after the vintage has been gleaned,
finds no cluster to eat;
there is no first-ripe fig for which I hunger.”

-Micah 7:1 (NRSV)

Ewww, right? But in truth, it’s the mark of real food. Just as we are all born into a life that we will die from, so it is with our foods, and some a lot faster than others. Foods that resist this natural progression have been processed to hold on for longer, and as such certain things have been either added or removed that make our foods what they are.

One famous example in the Twinkie that Pollan places on his desk and comments on in his previous book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. It looks the same as when he placed on his desk for a very long time. In truth, the actual shelf life of a Twinkie is 25 days. That’s not years. But it is far longer than other baked goods.

The exception that breaks the rule? Honey. It lives centuries, and there are even reports of edible honey recovered from Egyptian tombs.

I wouldn’t eat it, but it’s nice to know there’s a dependable sweetener in the cupboard, even if you do have to heat it up to get the granules out.

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One Comment
  1. Darrell Oakley permalink

    Michael Pollan was on Oprah today. http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/The-Truth-About-Food-with-Michael-Pollan

    How does Food, Inc. sound for movie night? There will be a lot of popcorn left over after everyone looses his or her appetite.

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