Food Rules

One of the fun things about staying with a lot of different friends on our home assignments is checking out their coffee tables and – uhm- bathrooms to see what they’re reading.  One book grabbed my attention and I ended up buying it myself – Food Rules by Michael Pollan  (thanks Leif and Amy!).  I’m re-reading it again now, but just my first cursory read has made me make changes already in some of the foods that we eat/use to prepare dishes.

We are giving up using margarine — one way of trying to avoid partially hydrogenated oils.  And trying not to use a lot of processed foods like Cream of Mushroom soup, etc.  I was excited about a great new Crockpot cookpot given to me this summer that avoids a lot of the processed foods and seems to have a healthier approach to crockpot cooking  (Slower Cooker:  The Best Cookbook Ever by Diane Phillips. It just might be!).

Today I tried a new recipe for an old classic – Chicken Divan.  Instead of a ton of mayonnaise and cream of mushroom soup, here is the recipe.  While still high in calories, it has more “wholesome” (?) ingredients.  We really enjoyed it – cooking the broccoli separate (and serving it over rice):

CROCKPOT Curried Chicken Divan

4 T unsalted butter

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

1/4 C flour

2 C chicken broth

1 C evaporated milk

8 chicken skinless/boneless breast halves

1 1/2 C shredded sharp cheese (I used less).

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the curry powder and saute for 30 seconds.  Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, whisking constantly.  Add the broth and bring the mixture to a boil.  Add the milk and remove the sauce from heat, allowing to cool.  Place the chicken in crockpot; stacking evenly.  Pour the cooled sauce over the chicken.  Cover and cook on high for 3 hours.  Sprinkle the cheese over the chicken, cover, and cook an additional hour until the chicken is cooked through.  (I think you can cook it on low the last hour or two so the chicken doesn’t overcook).


We still haven’t given up Diet Coke yet – maybe that’s next month.  What food rules are you living by now?


2 thoughts on “Food Rules

  1. Thanks for sharing the recipe as well as the book! I think we’ll have to try both of ’em. About our “food rules” . . . four years ago, when the cancer returned, we opted for a more alternative type of diet, compared to standard American fare. We have completely removed partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and MSG from our diets. Just refusing these three ingredients has drastically reduced the options at the market. We have very few processed items in the pantry, however our fridge is FULL of fresh veggies and fruits. One other item of note is the reduction of red meat in our home. Considering the strong link between red meat and colon cancer, we only partake of this type of meat once a month. Fish and chicken have become our favorites! (BTW, just yesterday, I found organic “cream of…” soups at the healthy market. Gonna try a favorite casserole tomorrow that we’ve given up due to PHVO/MSG in Campbell’s varieties. Hope it’ll be tasty!)

  2. Isn’t the book interesting? I read it over the summer too and yes, we stopped using margarine too. We have also switched to brown rice (genmai). Both butter and brown rice are more expensive in Japan, but we are trying to make the switch. We are trying to stay away from white bread (but not many choices) and using more olive oil. Did you watch the film “Food Inc.”? It really made me want to become a vegetarian and made me wish we had a Trader Joe’s in Osaka!

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