On Monday night, Karis, Shelby and I saw Michael Pollan speak at the Oriental Theater in Milwaukee. I really admire his work and it was such an inspirational experience to hear him talk about a subject I am so passionate about. I can't wait to read Cooked and learn more about some of the things he touched on during his talk. We received signed copies of the book with our ticket price.
The overall theme seems to be that Americans are facing an obesity crisis because we want our food served quickly and don't take the time to cook in our own kitchens anymore. When we eat out, I check nutritional information on the menus ahead of time and I am shocked at the stats. I often don't order what I originally thought I was going to order because I can't fathom eating 800 plus calories and so many grams of fat in one meal.
Did you know that Americans are now spending more time watching food shows than actually cooking in their own kitchens? That fact made me sad. It also may contribute to people feeling more intimidated to cook, because some shows make it look very difficult. In my opinion, people should be watching more "Cooks Country" and "America's Test Kitchen," which I find to be extremely educational vs. reality TV cooking shows.
Pollan said that we need to make time for cooking, like we do for working out. This hit home because while I love to cook, I don't spend a lot of time meal planning and actually making more complicated recipes in my own kitchen. I am sure that will change after I read his book!
Pollan feels strongly that Home Ec programs need to be in schools for everyone. He also likes the idea of using YouTube as a tool to learn how to cook (I'd add blogs to that suggestion). Basically, if you know someone who isn't a great cook, teach them and help them become healthier as a result.
Pollan lives in Berkeley, California and likes to shop at the Monterey Market and the Berkeley Bowl, in addition to his visits to the wonderful Berkeley Farmers' Market. When I lived in Berkeley, I shopped at the Berkeley Bowl and it boasts a massive produce section--probably the largest I have ever seen in my life.
Someone asked Mr. Pollan if he had ever been to the Madison Farmers' Market. I was so proud of our Wisconsin cheese industry and particularly Uplands cheese (which I was fortunate enough to visit last summer) when he said that he really enjoyed the Pleasant Ridge cheese he had picked it up at the Madison Farmers' Market.
Check out Karis' and Shelby's posts on seeing Mr. Pollan. They did a great job summarizing his talk.
And this article from NYTimes entitled, "Making Lunch with Michael Pollan and Michael Moss" is also quite interesting.