michael pollan

Imagine your OTP

Person A: I’m getting married, and I want you to be in my wedding.
Person B: Oh, as a bridesmaid?
Person A: *gets on one knee* No, as my bride

Is sourdough bread actually healthier than other breads?

In Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, Michael Pollan, acclaimed food journalist, logged the process of making sourdough bread. It begins with a yeast starter, which creates microbes  that will soon be mixed with flour to become bread. Compared to eating white bread, Pollan believes that sourdough bread is superior. Medical professionals, however, suggest a different alternative altogether.

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Quote from Michael Pollan, an American author, journalist, activist, and professor of journalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Traditions survive because they are adaptive. They’re the result of a kind of cultural selection, like natural selection. They survive because they help keep people healthy and happy- and to throw that away, wholesale, is very often to loose things that are critical to our well-being. The meal is an incredible human institution- one of the most important things we can do is to reconnect to its sources.

Cooked, Netflix original documentary narrated by author Michael Pollan

(I am now very, very hungry.)

The food industry blames obesity on a crisis of personal responsibility. But by engineering foods it is pressing our evolutionary buttons. We’re hard-wired to go for three tastes - salt, fat and sugar - which are rare in nature. Now sugar is available and consumed in tremendous quantities. This diet of high-fructose corn syrup and refined carbohydrates leads to these spikes of insulin and, gradually, a wearing down of the system by which our body metabolizes sugar.
—  Michael Pollan, American author, journalist and activist
Fritz Haber? No, I’d never heard of him either, even though he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1920 for “improving the standards of agriculture and the well-being of mankind.” But the reason for his obscurity has less to do with the importance of his work than the ugly twist of his biography, which recalls the dubious links between modern warfare and industrial agriculture. During World War I, Haber threw himself into the German war effort, and his chemistry kept alive Germany’s hopes for victory. After Britain choked off Germany’s supply of nitrates from Chilean mines, an essential ingredient in the manufacture of explosives, Haber’s technology allowed Germany to continue making bombs from synthetic nitrate. Later, as the war became mired in the trenches of France, Haber put his genius for chemistry to work developing poison gases—ammonia, then chlorine. (He subsequently developed Zyklon B, the gas used in Hitler’s concentration camps.) On April 22, 1915, Smil writes, Haber was “on the front lines directing the first gas attack in military history.” His “triumphant” return to Berlin was ruined a few days later when his wife, a fellow chemist sickened by her husband’s contribution to the war effort, used Haber’s army pistol to kill herself. Though Haber later converted to Christianity, his Jewish background forced him to flee Nazi Germany in the thirties; he died, broken, in a Basel hotel room in 1934. Perhaps because the history of science gets written by the victors, Fritz Haber’s story has been all but written out of the twentieth century. Not even a plaque marks the site of his great discovery at the University of Karlsruhe. Haber’s story embodies the paradoxes of science: the double edge to our manipulations of nature, the good and evil that can flow not only from the same man but the same knowledge.
—  The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (Michael Pollan)

Food Inc. is an excellent film, that I think everyone should watch. It discusses our food system and the way it works. Alternative methods such as Polyface Farm are also mentioned. Take a look!

The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world.
—  Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals