The Omnivore’s Dilemma and American Portions

Earlier this year I read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.  When I was reading it a woman approached me and mentioned that she loved it and it had made her change her entire diet. While I haven’t gone that far, I did really enjoy the book and I do think much more about food and where it comes from.  I haven’t really changed my diet, but I’ve become aware of “agribusinesses” and what goes into our food and how it gets to us.  For Pollan, eating is a political act, not only due to our own choices, but for the ways in which the US government has regulated agricultural policy, and the energy and other resources required to get food to us. Towards the end of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Pollan suggests that Sigmund Freud should have studied people and their relationship with food, to get a better understanding of human neuroses.  Post-Omnivore, I do find “food” articles downright fascinating.  Hot topics like globalization, the recession, obesity, and the environment linked to an essential aspect of survival that can seem routine.  Two recent articles focus on the gargantuan size of many American portions.  One is titled “U.S. Food Portions: Monuments to American Decadence?” and it tackles the growing food crisis is a global problem, and one in which the US bears responsibility.  I like to eat out and (I assume), like most people I like to think I eat healthy.  However, it’s not hard to imagine why some might blame Americans for other countries food shortages when a popular menu item exceeds your ‘healthy’ caloric intake for the day.  (Healthy defined in this case as the number of calories consumed in order to maintain the same weight).  I love red meat, and so I’m pleased to see that it can sometimes be a (relatively) healthy and delicious option.  To leave things on a more positive note, you can also read about one business school student who is committed to agricultural sustainability and had some very positive things to say about her experience at Whole Foods.  Have any of you read The Omnivore’s Dilemma?  What do you think of the food business?  And do you think Boston (like New York) will require restaurants to publish calorie counts anytime soon?

Restaurant Week Boston

Restaurant Week Boston is a great way to break up the winter doldrums that hit once February passes and you realize that winter hasn’t lost its hold just yet. This event gives you a chance to sample some of the area’s finest restaurants (and not-so-finest) for the reasonable price of $33.08 (for dinner). The restaurants that participate offer a prix fixe menu Sunday – Friday for two weeks in March. You go in, ask for the RW menu, select an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert – most places have several choices for each course – then enjoy the meal and the company. True, sometimes the selections are a little weak (last year, nearly every restaurant had the same cheap cut of beef) or sometimes lacking in variety, but almost always excellently prepared or prepared in some unique way. If you want to explore what that restaurant you’ve always heard about has to offer without spending a lot, dress up for a night out with friends, and forget that OMG, it’s freezing outside, make your reservations without reservation. You’ll have lots of fun.