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Eat Simple and Save the Planet

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Daniel Rogov

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Eat Simple and Save the Planet

by Daniel Rogov » Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:45 am

Taking up the cudgel of eating better while simultaneously saving the planet, Mark Bittman has released his new book Food Matters. The book is reviewed by Laura Miller writing at Salon.com
The article can be read at http://www.salon.com/books/review/2009/ ... k_bittman/

The moral of the story – don't make a fetish of food, eat less meat, eat more simply, eat more greens and beans and never forget that quinoa will be the salvation of the planet.

My personal reactions – indeed don't fetishize food but do make it an important part of the pleasure of life; no problem with eating more greens and beans but they belong next to the meat on my plate; and, as to quinoa – it actually does taste good, especially when tossed together with a generous amount of butter and chunks of thick-sliced, crisply fried bacon. And most of all from my point of view, don't let it bother you if people think you're a snob because you like oysters, arugula and Italian names for your coffee!

Whatever, a thought-provoking read.

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Rogov
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Re: Eat Simple and Save the Planet

by Charlie Dawg » Thu Jan 08, 2009 2:30 pm

Thank G-d there are still some people with sence in their heads. I'm talking about you Daniel.
You are what you eat.
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Re: Eat Simple and Save the Planet

by Jacques Levy » Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:19 am

I like Bittman, I read his blog "Bitten" religiously. I intend to buy the book and judge for myself. What is interesting is how a discipline of "Vegan until six" would work. After all, no milk in my coffee, or cereal, no yogurt, no tuna salad at lunch? That seem a little extreme and quite unlike Bittman's writing in the NYTimes and the blog. Again, I do need to check it out for myself. Thanks Rogov for posting this.
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Re: Eat Simple and Save the Planet

by Daniel Rogov » Sat Jan 10, 2009 1:47 pm

Jacques, Hi....

The first time I saw the expression "vegan until six" I grimaced, thinking that what was going to be called for was raising all children as vegans from birth to age six. I later realized that was not the meaning but I did realize that there was a certain perverse logic to vegan from birth to age six. As I say, "perverse logic" (we all have our little weird fantasies, n'est-ce-pas?) so what follows is written with my tongue firmly implanted in my cheek.

As I have written on various occasions, one of the reasons that cannibalism is not more often practiced is that human beings simply do not taste good. It is well known that animals that are considered meat-eaters (e.g. lions, tigers, most birds of prey or carion birds) do not taste good. That is seemingly true of humans as well.

On the other hand, as has also been written, if one is going to dine on human flesh, the best chances for a truly tasty meal are for the flesh of a young child, ideally before the age of six (when certain muscles and tendons develop) and who has been a vegetarian all of his/her life.

What the heck - if such respected figures as Guy de Maupassant, Henry Miller, Curnonsky, Arthur Clarke and Ray Bradbury can write about it, why not me?

Disclaimer: I have no intention whatever of trying this "young stuff". More than that, I actively dissuade anyone else from trying it. Such thoughts are best left entirely to black humor.

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Re: Eat Simple and Save the Planet

by Jacques Levy » Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:25 pm

i got the book yesterday and started reading it, Rogov. Frankly, I think you will like it. The philosophy is close to yours on a lot of issues; he describes himself as a gourmand (and hates the term "foodie"), he enjoys a good meal at a restaurant, accompanied with good wine, he doesn't obsess about the plan (yes, there is half and half in his daily coffee). I don't know if the "Vegan till Six" plan will work for everyone, but I intend to give it a shot.
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Re: Eat Simple and Save the Planet

by Daniel Rogov » Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:13 pm

Jacques.....

In the meantime, two small problems. You say that the author refers to himself as "a gourmand". I have a problem with the usage of that word.....

1. To me, the gourmet is a person who is a connoisseur of fine food and drink, one who appreciates and knows how to dine and drink in a cultured sense. If I had to find a synonym, that would be "epicure".

The gourmand on the other hand may enjoy food but is one who is devoted to eating and drinking to excess, and because of that, the most cultured aspects are often lost on him/her. Synonym in this case "gluton".


2. I have not yet read the book (it is on order and will be reaching me soon) when I will, of course read it. Until then, however, my problem is with the concept of vegan until six. The vast majority of nutritionists that have published have pointed out that the concept of part-time veganism is rather a waste. Perhaps the author has evidence to the contrary. I am willing to consider that. Frankly though, I can see no advantage in giving up eggs and bacon in the morning only to eat them during the evening hours. There might be some physical health advantage to that but so is there in sexual abstention five days a week. Until such abstention (culinary or other) is forced on me, I see no reason to undertake them voluntarily.

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Re: Eat Simple and Save the Planet

by Jacques Levy » Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:10 pm

You are of course, right as usual. However, I know you'll keep an open mind as to the book. I'll be curious to read what you think after you read it.
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Re: Eat Simple and Save the Planet

by Shel T » Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:11 pm

Daniel, kudos to you for "taking one for the team"!
The unctuous (actually smarmy is preferable!) arrogant, presumptuous title is enough to put me off. And as you pointed out, any self-confessed, delighted-to-be-gourmand isn't worth reading in the first place.
So look forward with interest to your 'review' after you get through whatever part of the book you manage without barfing all over it. It's tough being the point man on a website!
Nullum gratuitum prandium
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Re: Eat Simple and Save the Planet

by ChefJCarey » Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:28 am

Jacques Levy wrote:i got the book yesterday and started reading it, Rogov. Frankly, I think you will like it. The philosophy is close to yours on a lot of issues; he describes himself as a gourmand (and hates the term "foodie"), he enjoys a good meal at a restaurant, accompanied with good wine, he doesn't obsess about the plan (yes, there is half and half in his daily coffee). I don't know if the "Vegan till Six" plan will work for everyone, but I intend to give it a shot.


Bittman and I share a horror of the word "foodie". It's just too damn cute. It cloys. It smacks of American middle class mindlessness. (I also make the "no-knead" bread all the time - and that after growing up in a bakery).
Rex solutus est a legibus - NOT
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Re: Eat Simple and Save the Planet

by Daniel Rogov » Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:10 am

I have now read the book. Like the good queen before me, I was not amused. Nor was I particularly edified.

I do not believe for one instant that the dining habits of discriminating and intelligent human beings impact one iota on the well-being or future of our planet. As to our own well-being, although I was not around then, I continue to believe that the ancient Greek philosophers had the fully correct idea - eat as you will and what you will but do so in moderation. As to the question of perpetual dieting (not to mention the perpetual publiction of books about how to diet), I have always felt strongly that the only factor that involves itself in our weight is the intake of calories. That now seems to be well demonstrate by fastidious and non-partisan research.

As to the use of the term "foodie", we are in agreement. That was a great phrase when it was coined in 1985 by Ann Barr and Paul Levy in their Official Foodie Handbook. After a few years, however, it became as trite and hackneyed a term as one could find.

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Re: Eat Simple and Save the Planet

by ChefJCarey » Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:58 pm

I have always felt strongly that the only factor that involves itself in our weight is the intake of calories. That now seems to be well demonstrate by fastidious and non-partisan research.


Agreed. That and the outgo of expenditure. When my agent asked me if I had any ideas on a diet book I said yeah, I do.

Eat less, move more. He said that's a great start, where are you going from there.

I'm going nowhere. That's it. I'm finished. Let's do it as a minimalist book.
Rex solutus est a legibus - NOT
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Re: Eat Simple and Save the Planet

by Stuart Yaniger » Sat Mar 07, 2009 12:07 pm

JC, that is what I always referred to as "The Physics Diet." Only one that works.
"A clown is funny in the circus ring, but what would be the normal reaction to opening a door at midnight and finding the same clown standing there in the moonlight?" — Lon Chaney, Sr.

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