Food in the Library

The Brooklyn Law School Library’s most recent New Book List includes two informative items relating to food and the industrialization of our food supply. The first is In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan (Call #RA784 .P643 2009) which explores the question of what we eat from a health perspective. In his three-part essay, the author discusses the history of food in America, particularly in regards to nutritionism and government policy, explaining that we are no longer a society that eats food. Instead we eat food-like substances driven by a $32 billion marketing industry. The first section, The Age of Nutritionism, discusses diet experts, questioning the mutual interests of manufacturers of processed foods, marketers and nutritional scientists that have led to a national obsession with nutrition and diet and the idea of eating healthily. Part Two, The Western Diet and the Diseases of Civilization, addresses the Western diet and questions the idea that dietary fat leads to chronic illness. The third part, Getting over Nutritionism, proposes moving away from the Western Diet with a simple maxim: Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. Pollan writes “Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize,” and “Don’t get your fuel from the same place your car does,” adding humor to the message.

The second new item in the BLS Library collection on nutrition is Food, Inc.: How Industrial Food Is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer– and What You Can Do about It edited by Karl Weber (Call #HD9005 .F6582 2009). The 321 page book is based on the film of the same name and has expert commentators Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser, asking: Where does food come from, and who processed it? What role do agri-businesses play in food production and consumption? Are healthy foods available and affordable? The BLS Library has the DVD in its Audio Visual Collection on the 1st floor past the Reference Desk. The makers of the film have created a web site with links to the issues about food safety and NGO allies on the topic, a list a actions to take and a bibliography of material addressing industrial food. Here is the trailer for the film Food, Inc.: