Synopses & Reviews
Yes, Virginia, you can butter your carrots. A farmer's daughter tells the truth about cream, eggs, fish, chicken, chocolate--even lard.
Everyone loves real food, but they're afraid butter and eggs will give them a heart attack--thus the culinary abomination known as the egg-white omelet. Tossing out the yolk, it turns out, isn't smart. Real Food reveals why traditional foods are actually healthy: not only egg yolks, but also cream, butter, grass-fed beef, wild salmon, roast chicken skin, and more.
Nina Planck grew up on a vegetable farm in Virginia and learned to eat right from her no-nonsense parents: lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with beef, bacon, fish, dairy, and eggs. Later, she wondered: was the farmhouse diet deadly, as the cardiologists say? Happily for people who love food, the answer is no.
In lively, personal chapters on produce, dairy, meat, fish, chocolate, and other real foods, Nina explains how ancient foods like beef and butter have been falsely accused, while industrial foods like corn syrup and soybean oil have created a triple epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Real Food upends the conventional wisdom on diet and health and explains our taste for good things.
"Nina Planck is a good, stylish writer and a dogged researcher who writes directly, forthrightly and with an edge. She isn't afraid to make the occasional wisecrack ('No doubt, for some people, cracking open an egg is one chore too many') while taking unpopular positions. Her chosen field she is a champion of 'real' (as opposed to industrialized) food is one in which unpopular positions are easy to find. As Planck reveals, in her compellingly smart Real Food: What to Eat and Why, much of what we have learned about nutrition in the past generation or so is either misinformed or dead wrong, and almost all of the food invented in the last century, and especially since the Second World War, is worse than almost all of the food that we've been eating since we developed agriculture. This means, she says, that butter is better than margarine (so, for that matter, is lard); that whole eggs (especially those laid by hens who scratch around in the dirt) are better than egg whites, and that eggs in general are an integral part of a sound diet; that full-fat milk is preferable to skim, raw preferable to pasteurized, au naturel preferable to homogenized. She goes so far as to maintain horror of horrors that chopped liver mixed with real schmaltz and hard-boiled eggs is, in a very real way, a form of health food. Like those who've paved the way before her, she urges us to eat in a natural, old-fashioned way. But unlike many of them, and unlike her sometimes overbearing compatriots in the Slow Food movement, she is far from dogmatic, making her case casually, gently, persuasively.
And personally, Planck's philosophy grows directly out of her life history, which included a pair of well-educated parents who decided, when the author was two, to pull up stakes in Buffalo, N.Y., and take up farming in northern Virginia. Planck, therefore, grew up among that odd combination of rural farming intellectuals who not only wanted to raise food for a living but could explain why it made sense.
Planck, who is now an author and a creator and manager of farmers' markets, has a message that can be and is summed up in straightforward and simple fashion in her first couple of chapters. She then goes on to build her case elaborately, citing both recent and venerable studies, concluding in the end that the only sensible path for eating, the one that maintains and even improves health, the one that maintains stable weight and avoids obesity, happens to be the one that we all crave: not modern food, but traditional food, and not industrial food, but real food." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Praise for Nina Planck:
“A poised, articulate and not-so-quietly passionate advocate of what she has dubbed the ‘slocal movement…Planck is a riveting voice for consumers who want fresh food grown in their own region.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer
“The patron saint of farmers markets, a woman spoken of by [farmers] with the utmost respect.”—Guardian
“Plancks expertise…has become so admired that the Prince of Wales sought her guidance [on] rural areas. Plancks name has become virtually synonymous with the [farmers market] movement.”—Washington Post
“[Planck] has achieved more in her 30 years than most women do in a lifetime.”—Financial Times
[Planck's] argument...is strong enough to persuade even the unconverted to go out and buy a quart of unpasteurized whole milk."—New Jersey Star Ledger
"[Nina is] a cross between Alice Waters and Martha Stewart."—Washington Post
"Real Food is an inspiring and guilt-relieving book, packed with equal doses of common sense and extensive research.”—NY Sun
Praise for Real Food:
“Nina Plancks powerful concept, ‘real food, has changed how we think about what we eat. Now Nina turns to the nutritional needs of the developing human being. Today, one can say that ‘womb ecology is the most vital aspect of human ecology. In terms of public health, nothing is more important than the health and well-being of pregnant women. Thats why no task is more important than to study the factors—particularly nutritional factors—that influence a babys growth and development.”—Dr. Michel Odent, author of The Farmer and the Obstetrician
“Nina Plancks personal story of life with baby Julian, from preconception to tending the first tomatoes at their own Small Farm, makes compelling reading. Her no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is voice cuts through cant and euphemism like a whiff of sharp cheddar for anyone who wants the real dope. Her basic distinction between real and fake foods makes essential reading not just for mothers with babies, but for all of us who want to live and eat well.”—Betty Fussell, author of The Story of Corn, Raising Steaks, and My Kitchen Wars
“Ninas real food concept is critical for new parents and her advice on introducing solids is the best no-nonsense, eliminate-the-power-struggle option Ive read in years.”—Erica Lyon, author of The Big Book of Birth and founder of Realbirth“How can you not be interested in Nina Planck's book?” —Jesse Kornbluth, HeadButler.com
“[Planck] is a cross between Alice Waters and Martha Stewart.”—Washington Post “Science is finally catching up to what our grandmothers knew long ago: that traditional foods, and even fats, are actually good for you—and a whole lot healthier than the creations of food technology. Drawing on the latest research and oldest folk wisdom, Real Food offers a persuasive and invigorating defense of eggs, butter, meat, and even lard (!), as well as a powerful critique of a food industry that aims to replace these standbys with its highly processed, and sometimes deadly, simulacra. Nina Planck has written a valuable and eye-opening book.”—Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivores Dilemma “Planck has written an important book, and her timing may be perfect. With any luck, Real Food will resonate with Americans (starved for so long on low-fat diets) and bring Weston Price to a much larger audience than he could ever have imagined.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review
Everyone loves real food, but they're afraid butter and eggs will give them a heart attack--thus the culinary abomination known as the egg-white omelet. Tossing out the yolk, it turns out, isn't smart.
Hailed as the "patron saint of farmers' markets" by the Guardian
and called one of the "great food activists" by Vanity Fair
's David Kamp, Nina Planck is single-handedly changing the way we view "real food." A vital and original contribution to the hot debate about what to eat and why, Real Food
is a thoroughly researched rebuttal to dietary fads and a clarion call for the return to old-fashioned foods.
In lively, personal chapters on produce, dairy, meat, fish, chocolate, and other real foods, Nina explains how ancient foods like beef and butter have been falsely accused, while industrial foods like corn syrup and soybean oil have created a triple epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The New York Times said that Real Food "poses a convincing alternative to the prevailing dietary guidelines, even those treated as gospel," and that "radical" as Nina's ideas may be, the case she makes for them is "eminently sensible."
About the Author
Nina Planck grew up in Virginia selling vegetables at farmers' markets and later created the first farmers' markets in London, England. In New York City, she ran the legendary Greenmarkets. Nina also wrote The Farmers' Market Cookbook and hosted a British television series on local food. Her latest company, Real Food, runs markets for traditional foods in American cities.