I published this last year in the Huffington Post on September 24, 2012, and it got such a strong response, I’m reposting it. Also I’m under the gun for two major book projects and two freelance assignments all due at once for some reason, not to mention sundry book promo interviews; I guess summer is over and fall is officially here. Sigh.—M.R. The Importance of Food? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and not least of all because I’ve always strived to distance myself from the pigeonhole called “food writer.” Food is important, obviously. If we don’t have it, we die. Writing about something so important should need no justification. And yet if I were called, say, an “environmental journalist,” wouldn’t that sound somehow more substantial, more serious than being a “food writer”? Read On »

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It made so much sense the second I read it. One of those “of course!” moments. It was, not atypically, while reading Michael Pollan in his NYTimes magazine story a few years ago about how no one cooks anymore (really?). Certainly in the 1980s and 1990s most of the country relied on reheating already-cooked food for their meals. And perhaps as a result, at least in part, we became a grossly obese country where seemingly the only people who dieted were the people who were already thin, and the rest made increasingly bizarre, unsustainable stabs at it. A physically sick country, a confused country—don’t get me started. The “of course” moment. It didn’t come from Pollan, but rather from a researcher he interviewed, Harry Balzer, who works for the market research behemoth NPD, and studies all kinds of Read On »

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Michael Pollan’s new book looks at the history of cooking with the 4 elements earth, wind, fire, and water.

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Several weeks ago, New York Times columnist Ariel Kaminer created a contest asking people to argue that eating meat is an ethical decision. Kaminer was pleased by the response. Judges included carnivores, vegetarians, and perhaps the most thoughtful and compelling vegan living, Peter Singer (and it’s worth clicking the Kaminer link for the judges’ overall responses to the many essays they read). They chose as winner an article by teacher Jay Bost. It’s no secret that I am a vigorous and unapologetic carnivore. After visiting the above, Schmidt Family Farms, where Bradley Cramer not only processed more than 100 chickens but also trained Burmese refugees how to do it so that they, relocated to the Midwest, might try to earn a living farming, I’ve decided to weigh in on a subject I’ve been thinking about for Read On »

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Dan Moulthrop, a former journalism student of Michael Pollan, interviewed the writer before a sold-out crowd at the Ohio Theater last week. I asked Dan, Curator of Conversation at The Civic Commons, a Knight Foundation project to use new media and emerging technologies to strengthen civic engagement, for his thoughts on Pollan’s visit. —M.R. by Daniel Moulthrop I woke up this morning from a dream in which I’d taken Michael Pollan to the West Side Market. It’s just an echo of his Monday visit, and a remnant of a strong desire the Cleveland ambassador in me had to show him both that place and the Ohio City Farm. Here’s my big takeaway from Monday night: The food system I grew up with is not the food system we’ll necessarily be stuck with. At one point Read On »

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