That sounds like a Yo statement, doesn't it? "Food rules, yo!" Actually, it's the title of a book by Michael Pollan which my husband is reading and is next on my TBR list.
FOOD RULES: AN EATER'S MANUAL. It's a less formal treatment of Pollan's seven-word formula for healthy eating: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. This was the basis and mantra of his IN DEFENSE OF FOOD, but that book had all the scientific backup and this one has 83 rules distilled or quoted from traditional food knowledge.
Charlie said one of the grandmotherly "rules" was to save the water in which you cook vegetables and use it as a base for soup. I said, "Duh." He said, "How do you know that? You're not a grandmother!" I just looked at him. "Oh," he said, "yeah, you ARE a grandmother." I took it as a compliment. I takes 'em where I can gets 'em.
Here's one I like: "The banquet is in the first bite." I mean, really, isn't it? Anticipate that first bite. If it's as good as you imagine, there's the payoff. No other bite will be quite as big a payoff as that one. One bite may not satisfy your hunger, but one bite satisfies your anticipation.
The illustrations are by artist Maira Kalman. Her paintings look deceptively childish at first glance, but the more you study them, the more you appreciate the skill and talent in them. They're perfect for this book: Complexity disguised as simplicity.
There's a regular version, but the illustrated one would make a very nice gift for the mother, grandmother, and/or foodie on your list.
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