Michael Pollan's Illustrated Food Rules

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Michael Pollan talks about the latest edition of his book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, this one includes illustrations by Maira Kalman. It’s a guide for eaters, which presents rules for eating wisely, many drawn from a variety of ethnic or cultural traditions. He discusses local food, organic food, the cost of food, the benefits of cooking at home, and how he came up with the food rules he recommends.

Reprinted from FOOD RULES by arrangement with The Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. © Michael Pollan, 2009, 2011; © Maira Kalman 2011
Reprinted from FOOD RULES by arrangement with The Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. © Michael Pollan, 2009, 2011; © Maira Kalman 2011
Reprinted from FOOD RULES by arrangement with The Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. © Michael Pollan, 2009, 2011; © Maira Kalman 2011
Reprinted from FOOD RULES by arrangement with The Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. © Michael Pollan, 2009, 2011; © Maira Kalman 2011


Michael Pollan

Comments [40]

Our apologies for the problems with the audio. It's now posted.
Happy listening!

Nov. 03 2011 03:47 PM
Tom from Brooklyn


The audio link is not correct. Please fix.

Thank you.

Nov. 03 2011 02:59 PM
Jeff from CA

how come there is no "download" link? I would love to listen.

Nov. 03 2011 10:29 AM

rita rover, registered dietitian from northport, ny

Sorry but I am with Michael and so many others - go to great grandmothers and further back for direction and wisdom - it's a lot bigger than what happens in labs under controlled conditions - my favorite advice actually is science, but it's also anthropological - Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A Price - who studied healthy societies in the field- around the globe, witnessing the process of industrialization. When I finished reading that book, I was astonished at how inept our left-brained European culture is at just about everything from making sane and healthy babies to resisting degenerative disease and avoiding crime. Check it out.

Nov. 02 2011 05:49 PM
nyginko from UWS

Now I am so curious to see the new book with Maira Kalman's drawings!
I loved the illustration above,
Rule 21 "When You Eat Real Food, You Don't Need Rules." It helps to have good tools such as a knife sharpening rod.

Nov. 02 2011 04:51 PM

Heny from Manhattan - Science doesn't know squat about food!

Nov. 02 2011 03:53 PM
Henry from Manhattan

Michael Pollan said in the interview that he has no problem with eggs in the Mark Bittman frittata example, but he really should be clearer on the sources of eggs he is suggesting.

He probably means he doesn’t mind local-sourced, small-farm eggs, but if we’re talking about the usual grocery store bought eggs from factory-farms, the type most people would pick up, it’s probably reasonable as Bittman is suggesting, to reduce consumption for a variety of reasons.

@ rita rover, registered dietitian from northport ny

The problem is that Michael Pollan has a very peculiar relationship with science. On one hand, he condemns scientists as sort of nefarious single-minded group bent on ruining everyone’s culinary culture. On the other hand, he’ll go right ahead and use science-based knowledge when it suits his narrative.

He’ll often say things like, “Scientists said eggs are bad for us, but now eggs have been exonerated.” (paraphrasing) while failing to mention that it is the same source of knowledge that has done the “exonerating,” and of course as you mention, it’s not entirely true that all nutritional researchers have given high egg consumption a green light. Really, it depends on other foods that make up a persons diet.

I wish Leonard addressed this with Pollan in the interview, because it would be helpful to better understand Pollan’s conception of the scientific processes and how he determines what science-based knowledge to pick and choose from.

@ low-carb commenters.

Please resist bragging about how much factory-farmed animal products you consume.

Michael Pollan isn’t advocating merely about weight maintenance, but is taking into account the entirety of our food system.

There is a reason everyone is concerned with the increase in demand for meat in Asia, and no, they don’t (or at least they didn’t use to) have an obesity problem even thought they typically consume a carbohydrate rich diet.

Nov. 02 2011 01:46 PM
nyginko from UWS

Thank you for this show, Leonard and Michael!

QUESTION, please? About using foods from areas (land an sea) with nuclear (strontium) fallout and contamination?
It is thought that these regions will be affected for centuries beyond our lifetimes. What can we rely upon in reference to being cautious and taking precautions?

[ Whereas Michael's observations have precedents in the early twentierth century, before the g reat wars, writer's spoke about the degradation of food and nutrition with industrialization of food supplies, and we now have the effects of nuclear fall out contamination. ]

Nov. 02 2011 12:56 PM
Rick from NYC

thanks for reading and asking my question, Leonard (and staff)! You guys do read this internet stuff after all!

Nov. 02 2011 12:44 PM
rita rover, registered dietitian from northport ny

Mr. Pollan is a journalist and has no formal education in nutrition. He makes several accurate points, but his background is lacking resulting in glaring mistakes and often poor advice. For example:
While trans and saturated fat do raise blood cholesterol more than cholesterol intake, the American Heart Association continues to recommend limiting cholesterol intake to 200mg/day for people with risk factors for heart disease. Most egg yolks still contain over 200mg/day in one yolk.
He never mentions registered dietitans who are highly educated, scientific evidence-based, food and nutrition professionals and who provide medical nutrition therapy including information and behavioral counseling in many areas including private practice.

Nov. 02 2011 12:43 PM

Doritos™ and cigarettes: Kinda the same thing. Both have no nutritional value, stimulate the central nervous system - acting as a drug and are in fact detrimental to one's health.

Both should probably be regulated equally.

Nov. 02 2011 12:43 PM
Nancy Duggan

Mr. Pollan's just wrong when he says we never put sugar bread; look at any old cookbook.

Nov. 02 2011 12:42 PM
LL from UWS

You DO put sugar in make the yeast rise....Sugar, honey, or molasses in wholewheat bread. Mmmm. Just not too much or you can kill the yeast.

PS I'm loving this segment and I hope all the definitions given by Michael Pollan get put into use!

Nov. 02 2011 12:42 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Sugar should be relabelled a drug to be regulated by the FDA. Sugar levels in foods should be reduced or eliminated wherever possible, and replaced by Splenda or some other relatively healthy equivalent. Sugar, liquor, and heroin should be considered equivalents when it comes to health.

Nov. 02 2011 12:41 PM
LL from UWS

My Fried Chicken Rule:
Only eat fried chicken as often as you'd go on a picnic.

My French Fries Rule:
Only eat French Fries when you are very hungry and aren't sure that anything else on the menu will fill you up and not upset your stomach. Or, off the plate of a friend or acquaintance when you still want them to have a high opinion of you (take about 3 fries only).

Usually 1-3 times per year.

Nov. 02 2011 12:40 PM

I don't tell my 7 yr old to eat all on his plate, but i do find I get angry at him for being picky, thereby turning eating into a hassle. any parenting suggestions (also he's had dental surgery & 5 crowns - acidic saliva?

Nov. 02 2011 12:39 PM

Why mention Mark "Wannabe" Bittman??

Nov. 02 2011 12:39 PM
John A. from NY

It's just too obscene to eat bananas in the middle of apple season. I gave them up for this years season.

Nov. 02 2011 12:38 PM
Henry from NY

Instead of brusquely asking "are you done" when dining out in Charleston SC and Savanna, GA a few years ago I was asked "are you satisfied," by the wait staff.

Not only was it more polite, but it reminded our table that being satisfied should be our focus not being full.

Nov. 02 2011 12:35 PM
Henry from Manhattan

I read a recent interview where Michael Pollan has refined his view of High Fructose Corn Syrup being worse than sugar and now accepts that they are pretty much the same.

Could he elaborate on this and perhaps what changed his mind?

Nov. 02 2011 12:35 PM
Wendy from Paramus

Steamable rice and vegetables in plastic pouches are so convenient, are these microwavable pouches safe?

Nov. 02 2011 12:33 PM
LL from UWS

"Eat all you take" is a rule in The Netherlands and it's a great way to teach kids NOT to take too much on their plate because they learn how eating too much makes one feel uncomfortable.

In The Netherlands the amount of food in the serving bowls always seems to match exactly what people around the table eat. Not too little, not too much.

Nov. 02 2011 12:33 PM
Pete from uws

what's mp's stance on frozen veggies.

Nov. 02 2011 12:31 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

I think the only fruits I have eaten in the last 13 years are blueberries and some strawberries, both low in carbohydrates. Most fruits are just sugar, as are many vegetables. The only veggie I eat is cucumber. And occasionally spinach. "Eat lots of fruits and vegetables" is another one of those myths, like "fats are bad" and "organic is good." Lots of nonsensical shibboleths!

Nov. 02 2011 12:31 PM
LL from UWS

Off topic answer to comment above--In The Netherlands their Santa Claus is tall and THIN and saturnine rather than jovial!

(and he arrives on a boat from Spain with his Moorish helper)

Then again, their Santa Claus brings oranges as one of the treats.

Nov. 02 2011 12:30 PM
Susan from nyc

What about GMO foods?

Nov. 02 2011 12:29 PM
Joe B from brooklyn

For a year and a half I consumed heavy doses of olive oil daily, butter infrequently, and lean meats/fish.

When I went for a checkup, my doctor was shocked by my cholesterol levels. My LDL (bad cholesterol) was way below average, and my HDL (good cholesterol) was through the roof.

I eat what I think would be described as a mediterranean diet.

Nov. 02 2011 12:28 PM
Sandy from LES

Does your guest think we will see an end to monoculture farming?

Nov. 02 2011 12:27 PM
nick from jersey city

please ask about Gary Taubes research.

in addition, the book called "China Study"

Nov. 02 2011 12:26 PM
LL from UWS

The French don't say "I am full" after eating because in French "Je suis plein(e)" for one hilarious reason that French people will laugh at you for--Pleine is the word for a pregnant animal.

When I lived in France they would say, especially when declining offers of more:
"je suis rassasié(e) " which means "I am satisfied"

As one blogger explained:
"I said, “je suis plein” because I think it means “I’m full” but no. The phrase “être pleine” means a female animal is pregnant. I can say “je suis plein comme un oeuf, or “j’ai assez mangé, but not “je suis plein”. "
Pronunciation: [ra sa zyay]

Nov. 02 2011 12:26 PM
Daria from Brooklyn, NY

I think it's not quite correct to refer to the types of food common and called "food" (in a sense that your guest defines it) in the US as Western food. For example, Europe countries ban GMOs and certain food additives, and to the most part fast food isn't considered proper there.

Nov. 02 2011 12:23 PM
Henry from Manhattan

Pollan added food rule is number 7, on his website he wrote:

“Coffee and tea can make us happy, alert, and more energetic, which might help explain why scientists have worked so hard to find something wrong with them.”*

Can he please explain this blatant anti-science statement while reconciling how he can go right ahead and rely on science to defend his positions?



Nov. 02 2011 12:23 PM
Leah from Brooklyn

When people become gluten-free, they tend to avoid processed foods more (since so many of them are wheat-based). Perhaps this has to do with why people who feel "better," even without diagnosed gluten intolerance, when they cut out gluten. Something similar has happened when I've tried veganism, because I found I was eating more and varied vegetables and fruits to make up a satisfying diet.

Nov. 02 2011 12:23 PM
Ken from Soho

The only peanut butter I buy is ground by me at my health food store from roasted peanuts, nothing added.

Nov. 02 2011 12:22 PM
Awol from Park Slope

Buttermilk clarification:
buttermilk is the liquid left over after the butter is churned. It's by nature non-fat, and wonderful.

Nov. 02 2011 12:18 PM
Rachel from CT

I have high cholesterol and I've become mildly obsessed with Smartbalance products - what are your guest's thoughts on Smartbalance - any good?

Nov. 02 2011 12:17 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

I've been on the so-called "Atkins DIet" for over 13 years, and eat PLENTY of eggs in butter, meat, fat (not transfats) and have no bad consequences. My female doctor has always been taken aback when I tell her what I eat, because she is part of that Soviet-style "low fat, no fat, no meat" Party line mentality. For me, low carb is the way go., That is, no sugar, no bread, no ketchup, nothing that adds more than 60 grams of carbohydrates daily.
But I eat hamburger (no buns) for breakfast. At least 3 to 6 scrambled eggs a day in delicious butter, and at 65 happy as a lark.

Nov. 02 2011 12:16 PM
Robert T Jordan from Mountainhome, PA

STONEYFIELD FARM has a whole milk yogurt

Nov. 02 2011 12:14 PM
Gregory from The Bronx

I make and sell cheesecakes. I sometimes am asked if I can make a lowfat cheesecake; I say yes, but it's really like a skinny Santa Claus. Who wants one?

Nov. 02 2011 12:13 PM
Rick from NY

plz. ask about Gary Taubes research about why we get fat. thanks.

Nov. 02 2011 12:12 PM

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