My adoration for all things food and cooking includes a slight obsession with cook books. My favorite kind of cook book is the kind that speaks of the origins of food, their possibilities and the people who cook with them. Cook books that just compile recipes together? I might review those on Amazon or in a Barnes & Noble, but I won’t spend my money on them. I believe the best type of cook book is the kind that teaches the cook some essential guidelines but also encourages imagination. The best cook books teach the novice cook to overcome their fear of complicated ingredients and jump right in.
While there are cook books, there are also books about food, not necessarily all about cooking. I figure genetics and the environment will play some role in how my body performs and feels each day but if I can help it along by learning about the best foods and how they affect me, then all the better.
The book I am currently reading, I found in the Williamsburg Antique Mall for $3.00. It is titled The Philosophy of Eating, written in 1868 by A.J. Bellows, professor of chemistry, physiology and hygiene. In the very first chapter, he writes about wheat, ‘the perfect grain’. How it contains the perfect nutrients for the elements in your body and how man has stripped it to refine it into white flour, thus removing all of the properties that are good for the human body – the end result being the opposite of what nature intended the ‘perfect’ grain to be.
He goes into analyzing refined flour and sugars, starches and animal fat and how man eats an abundance of processed foods rather than what nature intended, thus becoming overweight and ridden with illness such as diabetes and conditions related to obesity. The more I read the more I had to remind myself that this book was written over 100 years ago. What would Professor Bellows think now, if he were alive to witness the obesity rates, serving sizes, processed food craze and more sedentary lifestyle of kids today?
One of my favorite passages so far, struck me in such a way that I had to read it a couple of times and then recite it out loud to Mr. Cheese. If science in farming is important, as it is proved to be, may not science in eating be more important?” Good stuff indeed, Sir.