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Best Food Books of 2006: Mindless Eating

The one other entry in the Best Food Books of 2006 is Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink, PhD.
I have a ton of notes in my book report journal on this, where I referred to the book as an insightful, fun, action item packed sudy on why and how we eat and what unknowingly influences us. Of all the books I read last year, I found this was the most interesting for cocktail party fodder – sort of like The Tipping Point or Blink in years past. Instead of typing up my notes though, I just discovered the author’s blog, and there’s a great summary post via an AP article on the book. Now, convoluted as this is, here’s an excerpt of an article about the book posted on the book’s blog (it’s like Six Degrees of Mindless Eating):

  • Avoid having too many foods on the table. The more variety, the more
    people will eat. People ate 85 percent more M&Ms when they were
    offered in nine colors rather than seven.
  • Use small bowls. A study found that people serving themselves from smaller bowls ate 59 percent less. 
  • See it before you eat it. Dishing out Chex Mix led one group to consume
    134 fewer calories than others who ate straight from the bag.
  • Sit next to the slowest eater at the table and use that person to pace
    yourself. Always be the last one to start eating, and set your fork
    down after every bite.

There are many other tips in that post, and even more in the book. The studies behind the tips are fascinating, and a great read that can quickly make a difference in how we eat. The book is framed more as sociology than self-help, but it also might be the best dieting book you’ll ever read.

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  • Avatar
    December 28, 2009

    Letter to the editor
    I believe no one would dispute the fact when I say there are a considerable number of people in the world that enjoy cheese, some go a step further and worship cheese. After all the noble art of cheese making has been hand down though many centuries, written about, made fun of, and sustained many a weary traveller. Behind these remarkable products lie a collection of splendid stories that are told throughout the many cheese making regions of the world but often ignored by the general public.
    Several years ago I had the good fortune to become a resident of France, a country that is an undisputed champion of cheese. I knew nothing about French cheese except for the fact there seem to be more cheeses that one could count and all delicious. It was about this time the internet began creeping into our lives. The mouse on the cheese seemed the perfect idea. My French partner and I created http://www.fromages.com. We were determined to share France’s Aladdin’s cave of cheeses with the world. Today with a click of the mouse our cheeses are delivered to your door step in twenty four hours, slightly longer for the Far East.
    On my journey into this fascinating world I picked up a few cheese books all beautifully presented with glorious coloured photographs and technical descriptions of the particular cheese under review. In fairness many endeavoured to inform the reader of the cheeses taste, place of birth and occasionally a little anecdote, but none to my mind gave the reader the romantic and bucolic nature of these gourmet delights. It was G K Chesterton that guided me to finding a different approach: “The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”
    I am still very much a novice on the subject of French cheeses but clearly their place in French history deserves an attempt at describing them in poetic terms. With great humility I picked up Chesterton’s glove and selected 30 of the best loved, crafted two odes to cheese and three allegorical stories. I completed a book entitled Tasting to Eternity with a few recipes, wine pairings and technical information about the cheeses. It was a stimulating task and most satisfying. People tell me the book has a definite mouth watering quality and one gets a real sense of the cheeses’ taste.
    Pierre Androuet’s statement: “Cheese is the soul of soil. It is the purest and most romantic link between humans and the earth.”
    David Nutt


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