Its a concept I’ve heard discussed time and time again. Food Rules author Michael Pollan said it in an interview with Slash Food — “don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” Proponents of only eating those foods your grandparents (or great-grandparents in some cases) would recognize. The concept behind this is the foods previous generations ate were homemade of fresh or whole ingredients rather than processed and packaged.
I have heard it several times and wanted to really think through the concept. Its even the subject of this week’s food poll. So please vote before reading on.
I didn’t know many of my grandparents and am afraid I wasn’t lucky enough to have any great grandparents. But figure my nieces and nephews are lucky enough to have some great-grands around so I’ll just looking at the way my grandparents ate (at least in the time I can recall). I’m sure family can help fill this out some and they don’t tend to “hold back.”
Some of the things that come to mind:
- Meat — My granddad loved meat. He had been a butcher and he loved meat and even better? Meat with gravy. Or fried meat. For the family of four, mom remembers a pound of bacon and a dozen eggs and several pieces of toast each every morning.
- Starch — They loved starches — potatoes, biscuits, rolls and some times rice.
- Veg — Vegetables were either fried or cooked and cooked and cooked some more. Preferably with bacon.
- Sweets — Grandmom loved a coke now & then, usually in the small 8 oz bottle and she’d share it with us. There was always something in the candy dish. And I remember a decent number of cakes and pies.
- Fruit — A fig tree along side my grandparents house and a plum tree at ours led to preserves or jellies. As for other fruits, we would have apples, citrus, grapes, bananas, berries, melons and stone fruits.
- Extra — LOTS of things were fried. In summer, the family would make chow chow for the black eyed peas we’d shell.
That’s my version of the list. I’m sure some family members can argue I’ve messed up. That’s what the comments section below is for. Now, I can look at things from my current world perspective.
While my analysis doesn’t have any hard and fast numbers, I would say eating like my grandparents isn’t necessarily good or bad. I love grandmom’s fudge pie and ambrosia (hints to anyone who would invite me to dinner anytime soon) so rockin’ it old school is a definite part of my diet. Some of the healthiest options I have are foods my grandmom wouldn’t have eaten — besides dragonfruit and artichokes, etc, tabouli comes to mind immediately and I don’t think she used bulgar or pomegranate concentrate. I love the diversity and should pick among the healthier options more often. But Pollan’s concept has gotten me to think more about food trends in my family and that’s a good thing.
The diversity I have available to me is due to the hard work of farmers — nearby and many miles away. I think my grands would like to join me as I take a few minutes to thank a farmer. Actually, I’d like to thank a bunch of them here in the Mid-South, across the Corn Belt, coast-to-coast and hemisphere to hemisphere. Thank you all for giving me healthy, nutritious plentiful options!