Lessons We Learned from Michael Pollan
Posted: Jan. 13, 2011
By Victoria Bradley
When infamous food writer Michal Pollan came to town to deliver a lecture at Heinz Hall as part of the Pittsburgh Speakers Series from Robert Morris University, we circled the date on our calendars and started a nutritional fast to stave off the guilt that would surely ensue after an evening with expert, who so astutely brought us The Omnivore’s Dilemma and four other New York Times bestsellers. Pollan has been named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people for the way he makes us think about our food, where it comes from, and how it affects our daily lives. His remarks were laced with wit and humor — and catered specifically to our hometown crowd: “I’ll try that Primanti’s sandwich once,” he said, to a riotous applause, “but my guess is that Paula Deen could teach you how to make it.”We’ve been milling over the foodie’s nuggets of wisdom. Here are a few of our favorite take-aways:
- 20 percent of the food in America is eaten in cars. The meal, as an institution, is in danger.
- Shop the perimeter of the supermarket. Stay away from the aisles of things that “never die.”
- The hot new trend in food marketing is to add brain boosters “to arrest the cognitive decline market.”
- Marketers are launching 40 new products a day and more than 14,000 new products a year, in constant battle against the “fixed stomach,” which is literally the limit of food Americans can eat.
- People eat for identity. “We’re the people who don’t eat pork.” “We’re the people who don’t eat gluten.” “We’re the people who don’t eat animal byproducts.”
- Orthorexia is an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating.
- Don’t eat foods that lie to your body, i.e. synthetic sweeteners
- Don’t eat foods you’ve seen advertised: If there is enough profit margin to afford high-priced advertising, the ingredients are cheap and heavily processed.
- Don’t buy cereal that changes the color of the milk.
- Eat food at tables. Have a sense of ceremony about it. Put flowers on the table, and cook your meals.
For information on future guests of the Pittsburgh Speaker Series from Robert Morris University, visit pittsburghspeakersseries.org.