Maira Kalman Illustrates New Edition of Michael Pollan’s Food Rules


By Stephanie Murg Comment

Rule #82: Cook

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Michael Pollan elaborated on this omnivorous mantra in his 2009 book, Food Rules, which offered 64 “simple rules for eating healthily and happily.” Having spawned reader-created t-shirts, market bags, posters, and plenty of reader-submitted maxims, the book has been reborn in a glorious illustrated edition. The enhanced hardcover version of Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (Penguin) goes on sale today and is awash in colorful, witty paintings by Maira Kalman. Elegantly designed by Claire Naylon Vaccaro, the book includes a new introduction and 19 additional food principles, such as “Love your spices” and “Place a bouquet of flowers on the table and everything will taste twice as good” (Kalman opts for a green fluted vase of hot pink poppies). And while there are plenty of fresh veggies and farm scenes to admire, Kalman’s signature way with pastry is featured in such rules as “Treat treats as treats” and “Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself,” which is matched with a Hostess cupcake. “When Michael asked if I would like to illustrate this book, I said two things. First, Yes. Absolutely Yes. Second, that Cheezdoodles had a beloved place in our family history,” explains Kalman in her handwritten introduction. “He did not hold that against me. This is a great country. Vast. Complicated,” she notes, pausing for a painting of a plump sausage floating on a pink ground. “With plenty of room for extremes.”