Friday, January 8, 2010

Tara Parker-Pope catches up with Michael Pollan

I know JustSaying has plugged and praised MP's new book multiple times already (without even receiving it in the mail yet) but once again, I've got to point out this recent interview because.... he mentions the rule that YOURS TRULY submitted: “It’s not food if it’s called by the same name in every language.”

OMG OMG OMG!!! Yay!!! (Of course, there is a chance that this rule was submitted by more than one person but regardless, a girl can dream that her efforts have contributed to the success of a bigger movement, right?)

Anywho, some highlights from the interview:

"I came up with [Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.] when I was writing a piece for The New York Times Magazine called “Unhappy Meals,” which became my book. I was trying to simplify everything I learned as radically as possible. I thought that was a compromise. I really wanted to say just “Eat food,” but I realized that wasn’t enough. You had to sort of take a position on meat and vegetables, and you had to address the whole issue of quantity. I’ve learned that from Marion Nestle (the New York University nutrition professor and author), that in the end, so much of the discussion about nutrition is a way to avoid talking about how much people are eating. People would rather talk about anything else than quantity. Eat food was the main message, but I realized I needed to qualify it. I was hoping for two words. I compromised at seven... The adverb “mostly” has been the most controversial. It makes everybody unhappy. The meat people are really upset I’m taking a swipe at meat eating, and the vegetarians are saying, “What’s with the ‘mostly?’ Why not go all the way?” You can’t please everyone. In a way that little word is the most important. It’s not all or nothing. Mostly. It’s about degree. But in the whole food discussion, I’ve learned the most from that, that little “ly” and people’s reaction to it."

"Some of these rules require absolutely no explanation. “If it came from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.” “It’s not food if it’s served through the window of your car.” “It’s not food if it’s called by the same name in every language.” Think Big Mac, Cheetos or Pringles. Another one I like, “The banquet is in the first bite.” Economists call this the law of diminishing marginal utility. When you realize the real pleasure in food comes in the first couple bites, and it diminishes thereafter, that’s a kind of reminder to focus on the experience, enjoy those first bites, and as you get into the 20th bite, you’re talking calories and not pleasure. I think there’s a lot of wisdom in that."


Cid73 said...

Observing the rule "Don't buy cereals that change the color of milk" will require a sea change for parents whose children are flooded with advertising. Thank goodness Michael Pollan's books are becoming pop fare. What do you think his next work will center on?

Deborah said...

I'm sort of hoping his next work is not exactly a written work, but rather work as the next Secretary of Agriculture ;-)