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Discussion Questions for " In Defense of Food"

From: CJ A.
Sent on: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 2:19 PM

Here are the discussion questions for our book this month.  Hope you are enjoying it, and will see you next week!



  1. What does Pollan think has created our unnatural eating habits? Do you agree? Why or why not?
  2. Pollan writes: “eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” What do you think about the simplicity of his philosophy? What do you think about his writing style? Are there lines you find meaningful or beautiful?
  3. Pollan suggests we eat food, rather than “edible, food-like substances”, pointing a finger at "nutritionalism". Why would increased understanding of the science behind food create an eating problem?
  4. Do you have real attachment to any food-like substances? Why do you have that attachment? How significant is it? Does it prevent your attachment to food Pollan would describe as food?
  5. What are the “real” foods that people are most attached to? Who is likely to be attached to them? Why?
  6. Not too much: do you agree we are eating in larger portions now than before? Why would this be so? Is it related to other trends?
  7. Mostly plants: have you attempted to move yourself, your family or those you cook for in this direction? Do you get any resistance? Why or why not?
  8. Pollan says how we eat “in the car, in front of the TV, and, increasingly, alone– is not really eating, at least not in the sense that civilization has long understood the term.” Where and how do you and your family or friends eat? Why is that your choice? Do you think where and how you eat affect  what you eat?
  9. What else is gained or lost with our shift toward eating away from the table? What happens as a result? Do you think this is an American phenomenon?
  10. Pollan says food “comprises a set of social and ecological relationships, reaching back to the land and outward to other people.” What relationships does he refer to here? How does the way we eat, and what we eat, affect the land and other people? How would changing the way we eat change other things, too?
  11. How would you compare the tone and message of this food book to that of other food books? Julie & Julia?  Heat?  Kitchen Confidential?
  12. What is the relationship between this book and other food-related cultural phenomena?  Film and television:  Food Inc?  Iron Chef? Top Chef?  Local blogs:  Vanilla Garlic? Poor Girl Eats Well? Hunter Angler Gardener Cook?
  13. Do you think the people who appreciate reading are more likely also to appreciate good cooking and eating? Why would that be?

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