Present to our food

Michael Pollan asked readers to submit their favorite dietary rules and rules of thumb; of the 2,500 responses he received, he selected his top 20 for an interactive feature. The whole list is great, but the other one that stuck out for its similar emphasis on the importance of not just the food but the culture we create around it in our daily eating was this: “You don’t get fat on food you pray over.”

“When drinking tea, just drink tea.” I find this Zen teaching useful, given my inclination toward information in the morning, when I’m also trying to eat breakfast, get the dog out, start the fire and organize my day. I believe that it’s so much better for our bodies when we are present to our food. Perhaps a bit of mindfulness goes a long way first thing in the morning. (Of course, some time ago, I came across a humorous anecdote about a hapless Zen student whose teacher taught him the aphorism and then was discovered by the same student, drinking tea and reading the paper. When confronted, the teacher said, “When drinking tea and reading the paper, just drink tea and read the paper!”)

—Michelle Poirot

from “Michael Pollan’s Favorite Food Rules,” illustrated and designed by Roger Kent and Zahra Sethna, The New York Times Magazine, 11 October 2009 :: via

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