Thursday, March 11, 2010

Food 101 on Oprah: Michael Pollan and other food fighters

Michael Pollan recently visited Indiana University, to give an address at the IU Auditorium during Arts Week. This was bliss for me: food and/as art in an intelligent, entertaining conversation reaching thousands of people. Because Gary Paul Nabhan (a chile head from the southwest) and Come-to-Jesus! real food evangelist Joel Salatin also came here in January, awareness of food issues has been growing. More people from more walks of life are making both significant and small personal changes in the direction of a more equitable local sustainable food system.

But let me emphasize: it is not easy. We have magical notions about food, tending to assume that there are enough growers and producers out there to supply us with the quality food we may want to eat.

Pollan was on Oprah Winfrey's show today. She has a link at her website to an interview with him at O magazine: "How to Break Bread (and Poor Eating Habits)."

Remember when Oprah was sued by Texas cattlemen for her criticism of the meat industry? Here is "The Trouble with Meat," an article by Jim Motavalli from E magazine in 1998: "Why Oprah Was Right, The Texas Cattlemen Were Wrong, and the Crisis Facing the American Hamburger Isn't Over."

The trouble with meat was revisited in the movie Food, Inc., also a topic on today's Oprah. In fact, she mentioned a special deal at Amazon through March 17th; you can buy the DVD and a download for $9.99. I thought about that again, in appreciation of Oprah's willingness to bring these issues to not just the rivulets and the backwaters, but the mainstream.

I started my day at a breakfast for Mother Hubbard's Cupboard food pantry (more on that tomorrow), did some work on various projects for my food co-op, spent some time researching food issues at Fair Food Fight, worked on an article about gardening, and then watched Michael Pollan and vegan actress Alicia Silverstone on Oprah. (Yes, it's true and the word spread on twitter – she talked unselfconsciously about her poop.)

Somewhere along the way I discovered my new food motto, borrowing from Michael Pollan and taking inspiration from Fair Food Fight's Barth Anderson (that's him in the black and white photo):

Eat Food - Not Too Much - Mostly Plants 
– and Add One Food Rant Per Day

Now to make some curried coconut carrot soup.


Anonymous said...

I think our collective foodie blood pressure would improve smashingly if we all followed your advice!

elena said...

It is so important to have those rants, and not just look politely the other way. You're right, Barth: our collective health is at stake. Put on your fighting boots, find your inner avatar, and get your self into the Fair Food Fight ring, dear readers!