July’s book club selection continues our education in and understanding of our favorite thing here at Simple, Good and Tasty: FOOD! As we all know, there are many real and complex issues surrounding the way we get food to our mouths these days. And there are trade-offs that need to be made. But what’s better? And how do you decide?
Getting back to basics is the goal of Nina Planck’s Real Food: How to Eat and Why. Filled with Planck’s personal experiences and just the right amount of scientific study, this book simplifies the choosing of food back to the pre-industrialized agriculture age. You know, back when your great-grandmother could recognize food as food. Sound familiar to anyone?
Everyone loves real food, but they're afraid butter and eggs will give them a heart attack -- thus the culinary abomination known as the egg-white omelet. Tossing out the yolk, it turns out, isn't smart. Real Food reveals why traditional foods are actually healthy: not only egg yolks, but also cream, butter, grass-fed beef, wild salmon, roast chicken skin, and more.
Nina Planck grew up on a vegetable farm in Virginia and learned to eat right from her no-nonsense parents: lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with beef, bacon, fish, dairy, and eggs. Later, she wondered: was the farmhouse diet deadly, as the cardiologists say? Happily for people who love food, the answer is no.
Here’s a sample of this month’s book club discussion topics:
- Nina Planck’s upbringing included parents that farmed for a living. What or who is your “real food” inspiration?
- Is it important for you to choose “real food?" Are your food decisions primarily based on nutritional factors, where and how foods are grown/produced, environmental issues, animal welfare, taste, or something else?
- How do you feel about certain foods – like lard – being touted by Planck as being healthier than alternatives? Is there anything missing from her argument?
- Is the concept of choosing “real food” indeed too much work? What are the implications to your family and life balance?
- What do you think the real core issues are in our country, if we consider the skyrocketing obesity and diabetes rates and falling life span? In what way would -- or have -- you made the first steps?
- What’s all the fuss about raw milk, anyway? Wasn’t pasteurization invented for a reason? Anyone remember what it was?
Planck’s book -- and its follow up, Real Food For Mother and Baby -- have been routinely well-reviewed and recommended by readers. Say what you will, but I certainly have a soft spot for anyone who tells me that roast chicken skin is a-ok!
We hope you can join us at this month's book club discussion. As usual, we'll be at Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op’s Selby location on Thursday, June 24, from 7 to 9:00 p.m. and at the Harmony Co-op in Bemidji from 6 to 8:00 p.m. We look forward to seeing you there!
Tracy Morgan is a Twin Cities foodie, cookbook hoarder, and owner of all the right kitchen gadgets. Living in downtown St. Paul, she loves to take her green trolley shopping at the Farmer's Market and see how much weight it can handle. When not spotlighting local goodies for Simple Good and Tasty, Tracy runs Segnavia Creative, a business development and marketing firm. She also serves on the board of directors for the Mississippi Market Natural Food Co-op. Her last blog post for Simple, Good and Tasty was Food Matters: SGT Bookclub Continues Tonight.