Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Pollan on Pollen (For the Food Lovers)

Micheal Pollan is one of my favorite food writers. Not just because he writes about the experience of eating, but moreso the history, technology, politics and sociology of global food culture. His most recent book, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals is pretty good from what little I've read. The guy knows his stuff, and it's not at all offputting or heavy-handed. Oneof his previous stories that was quite enlightening for my farmer-other stuff-retiree-farmer father was Michael's "This Steer's Life," where he sets out to purchase a single calf and follow its entire life to the slaughter house and eventually, his dinner table. It is a thorough and thoughtful analysis of where our beef comes from, approached objectively and with good humor. While on the topic of meat, I'd like to point out another interesting food "personality" (who also happens to have been an architect in the way of Le Corbusier) - Mr. Fergus Henderson of St. John Restaurant. Anyone that can wax poetic with such love and respect for tripe, pigeon meat, pig's feet and halved ox hearts, well, you gotta appreciate that devotion.

But let's return to our quandry; both Treehugger and the New York Times have good reviews of The Omnivore's Dilemma, and I'm sure you can find more on your own. (I wonder if Malcolm Gladwell has plans on a review?) Hear some Pollan's various interviews here, where he delves deeply into the hidden lives of corn, soybeans, and a number of other foods that allow humans to exist. We are truly at the mercy of nature's whims, not the other way around. This fact is profoundly humbling.

2 Comments:

Blogger mindful said...

i'm not certain i've ever read a book entirely about food particularly. i don't even own one recipe book... is his last name pronounced like pollen or po-lan?

6:04 PM  
Anonymous RedHotMama said...

according to something i heard on npr, people in urban environments have worse allergy attacks than those in rural settings because male plants dominate. they are planted to avoid the aesthetically unappealing seeds and pods of female plantlife, and yet the pollen has no place to go so it creates havoc for millions of people's sinues.

isn't that interesting?
and oh so telling.

8:31 PM  

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