Michael Pollan: Read it and Eat!


Image credit: Max Meyers.

I had the great honour of seeing Michael Pollan on the only Canadian stop of his book tour for In Defense of Food. I also had the pleasure of sharing the experience with Planet Green's resident foodie, Kelly Rossiter. If you haven't already, you can read Lloyd's book review that succinctly sums up the how Michael Pollan thinks we should eat.

I won't get into the nitty gritty details of every single word he said, but he was inspiring, engaging, funny and real. A must-see if you have the opportunity. One of the interesting points he makes is our lack of "food culture" in North America. We eat to get nutrients and "fuel-up", instead of eating to enjoy time with our families and savour the flavours of the stuff we put in our mouths. His eloquent words really made me think...It is amazing and saddening that some families don't eat together. My parents always had us sit together at the table and we weren't allowed to watch TV while we ate. It's an important time to catch up with one another and just have some family moments. Having come back to Toronto for 6 months (from my regular home of Barcelona), I do notice the lack of food culture, or better yet how the characteristics that Pollan says we should aim for are definitely things that we do in Spain.

Sometimes it seems like ALL we do is eat - it's a social thang. We sit down for breakfast, lunch and dinner (in my house at least). When we get together with friends we meet at a café, bar, restaurant or somebody's house to eat and/or drink.

People don't eat in their cars. There is no drive-thru. People don't take coffee on the subway and the people with water bottles are tourists. I have never seen anybody eat breakfast at their desk; in fact, where I used to work we all stopped at 10 am to go downstairs to the local café and have a coffee while sitting and chatting. There are very few "low-fat" foods in the stores and we get groceries almost daily at local shops.

I definitely seem to get more joy out of eating over there than over here. And I have taken Michael Pollan's talk to heart. I focus even more on the outer-perimeter of the grocery store where the really good foods are like veggies, dairy and meat. I am consciously trying to get over (as Pollan puts it) our "unhealthy obsession with healthy eating." Read In Defense of Food
and bring the joy back to your eating and cooking habits. You can get it in Toronto at The Cookbook Store.

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