AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
We reported earlier in the week on a new study that shows a diet low in carbs beats a diet low in fats when it comes to weight loss. It got writer Jason Sheehan thinking about our relationship with food. For this week's must-read, he suggests picking up M. F. K. Fisher's "The Gastronomical Me."
JASON SHEEHAN: They said eggs were bad for you, then good. Red meat - awful, but then later awesome. And carbs, they were always what was for dinner and lunch and probably breakfast, too. There's no food that carries more psychic weight for us than bread. Bread is what we break with friends and family. Bread is religious and historical. We can only bake it once we settled down in harvested grains. It was how our species started growing up. Only now, bread is about weight, the kind that's supposedly killing us all slowly and fatly. Bread isn't bread anymore. It's carbs. But then there's M. F. K. Fisher, the best food writer who ever lived. She didn't need carbs. She ate bread. She didn't eat fats or proteins, either. She ate meat hashed with a knife and ripe peaches picked that noon. She ate gloriously and joyously with love and through heartbreak. But here's the thing, in all her books but particularly in her loveliest, "The Gastronomical Me," Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher never appears to take an unconsidered bite of anything. On the page it seems each mouthful blew her mind and shaped her soul. It's impossible to imagine her eating fistfuls of potato chips or stuck in traffic with a Big Mac because here she is, driving with her father and her sister, having a picnic. (Reading) We ate the whole pie and all the cream and then drove on sleepily towards Los Angeles. And none of us said anything about it for many years, but it was one of the best meals we ever ate. So whenever these studies come out telling me what to eat and what to avoid, I swallow my guilt and open "The Gastronomical Me." I try to remember that there's more to food than its nutrition facts, and that the considered bite is the best bite no matter what the food is.
CORNISH: The book is "The Gastronomical Me" by M. F. K. Fisher. It was recommended by book critic and food editor Jason Sheehan.
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