Michael Pollan Cooks!

WE ARE LONGTIME FANS OF BESTSELLING food author and activist Michael Pollan. We often feature his quotes in our magazine, such as “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”

We also write about his food philosophies: The importance of a shared meal, for example. Pollan is now a journalism professor at UC Berkeley, our alma mater. In college, we shopped for food where he often shops (Berkeley Bowl and Monterey Market, for example).

Pollan’s views are shared by many others in our local food community and have helped it grow. Examples of that shared philosophy include Placer County Real Food from Farmers Markets, the regional cookbook by Joanne Neft, founder of the Foothill Farmers Market and Mountain Mandarin Festival, and local chef Laura Kenny.

“He thinks about the ethical bonds that connect our bodies, farms and food,” writes Alice Waters in Time magazine.

On November 8, Pollan is speaking at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Grass Valley, an event sponsored by The Center for the Arts and BriarPatch Co-op. It exemplifies the growing food sustainability movement in our region.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to Michael for the work he’s done,” says Alan Haight, owner of Riverhill Farm, whose produce is sold at the BriarPatch and Nevada City Farmers Market. “Many of our customers are avid supporters.”

Pollan plans to break bread with some nearby farmers, along with some notable locals including BriarPatch and Ensemble Designs, which has its own in-house kitchen “where customers share a meal” and even a cookbook.

Pollan’s onstage conversation at the Vet’s Auditorium, moderated by Beth Ruyak of Capital Public Radio’s Insight program, will be followed by audience questions and a book signing of Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, his latest cookbook.

Pollan is a devotee of farmers markets (in his case, the Thursday Market in North Berkeley) and CSAs. He enjoys fish, leafy greens and whole grains, not feedlot meat or “tomatoes that have been in the refrigerator.”

The Pollans—Michael; his spouse, landscape painter Judith Belzer; and teenage son Isaac—“eat pretty simply” (the meal prep is 45 minutes or less on weeknights) and the family cooks at home “more nights than not,” he told Moment magazine.

The 58-year-old Long Island native is the author of four bestsellers: Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (2010); In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (2008); The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006); and The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World (2001).

“Grilled salmon, with a cold salad of farro, asparagus, mushrooms and fresh peas. Also some sauteed greens from the garden with green garlic.”—London Independent (this June)

(photo: Ken Light)

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