UC Berkeley Journalism Professor Michael Pollan has devoted a good deal of his career to examining the food we eat in today’s society and the hazards of much of it. Four of his books are New York Times Bestsellers and have received many other accolades: Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals and The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World.
In Pollan’s latest effort, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, he moves into his own kitchen to explore the power of the four classical elements - fire, water, air, and earth – to transform food. He came to some surprising conclusions. While he previously expounded on the advantages of a vegetarian diet and condemned the use of sodium, in Cooked, he actually advocates for heavily salting uncooked meat. He also explores the use of food in social relationships including engaging with a teenaged offspring and reveals some interesting facts about the use and nature of fermentation.
Pollan was in St. Louis on May 9 for a Maryville Talks Books event in the Skip Viragh Center for the Arts at Chaminade College Preparatory School. Pollan was interviewed by St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and then took questions from the audience.
Marsh and Pollan’s conversation and two of the audience questions were broadcast on the May 13th St. Louis on the Air. The remaining questions and answers can be heard here.