53 Quotes of Michael Pollan About Journalism

” The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway. “
” I think perfect objectivity is an unrealistic goal; fairness, however, is not. “
” A cow out on grass is just an incredible thing to behold… Cows and other ruminants can do things we just can’t do. They have the most highly evolved digestive organ on the planet, called the rumen. And the rumen can digest grass. It takes grass, cellulose in grass, and turns it into protein, very nutritious protein. We can’t do that. “
” Even if you don’t think you can cook well, you can cook better than the food industry. “
” If you fill your Agriculture Committee with representatives of commodity farmers, and you don’t have urbanites, you don’t represent eaters, okay? You don’t have people from New York City on these committees, you are going to end up with the kind of farm bills we have: a piece of special interest legislation. “
” While the surfeit of cheap calories that the U.S. food system has produced since the late 1970s may have taken food prices off the political agenda, this has come at a steep cost to public health. “
” Simply by starting to cook again, you declare your independence from the culture of fast food. As soon as you cook, you start thinking about ingredients. You start thinking about plants and animals and not the microwave. And you will find that your diet, just by that one simple act, that is greatly improved. “
” A lawn is nature under totalitarian rule. “
” If you made all the French fries you ate, you would eat them much less often, if only because they’re so much work. The same holds true for fried chicken, chips, cakes, pies, and ice cream. Enjoy these treats as often as you’re willing to prepare them – chances are good it won’t be every day. “
” To a very great extent, it’s the fast-food industry that really industrialized our agriculture – that drove the system to one variety of chicken grown very quickly in confinement, to the feedlot system for beef, to giant monocultures to grow potatoes. All of those thing flow from the desire of fast-food companies for a perfectly consistent product. “
” To a very great extent, it’s the fast-food industry that really industrialized our agriculture – that drove the system to one variety of chicken grown very quickly in confinement, to the feedlot system for beef, to giant monocultures to grow potatoes. All of those thing flow from the desire of fast-food companies for a perfectly consistent product. “
” As a society, we devalued farming as an occupation and encouraged the best students to leave the farm for ‘better’ jobs in the city. We emptied America’s rural counties in order to supply workers to urban factories. “
” Agriculture changes the landscape more than anything else we do. It alters the composition of species. We don’t realize it when we sit down to eat, but that is our most profound engagement with the rest of nature. “
” A lot of what you see in the supermarket I would argue is not really food. It’s what I call edible, food-like substances. “
” Eat deliberately, with other people whenever possible, and always with pleasure. “
” Animals raised on corn produce fattier meat, but it’s not just that it’s fattier, it’s the kinds of fats. Corn-fed beef produces lots of saturated fats. So that the heart disease we associate with eating meat is really a problem with corn-fed meat. If you eat grass-fed beef, it has much more of the nutritional profile of the wild meat. “
” To the extent we push meat a little bit to the side and move vegetables to the center of our diet, we’re also going to be a lot healthier. “
” There is nothing wrong with eating sweets, fried foods, pastries, even drinking soda every now and then, but food manufacturers have made eating these formerly expensive and hard-to-make treats so cheap and easy that we’re eating them every day. “
” Ideologies are ways of organizing large swaths of life and experience under a set of shared but unexamined assumptions. This quality makes an ideology particularly hard to see, at least while it’s exerting its hold on your culture. A reigning ideology is a little like the weather: all pervasive and virtually inescapable. “
” You cannot eat apples planted from seeds. They must be grafted, cloned. “
” Barbecue is an incredibly democratic food. It’s cheaper than McDonald’s in many places and far more delicious. On the other hand, the only reason it can be that cheap is they use commodity hogs, the worst of the worst, which is – you know, it’s an industry kind of ruining North Carolina. “
” When you cook, you get to shop. You get to vote if you want the pastured raised pork or the organic grain. You can get to help produce your agricultural system, and you give that up when you outsource your cooking. You become dependent on what’s offered – and that’s a shame. “
” It is no small thing for an American to be able to go into a fast-food restaurant and to buy a double cheeseburger, fries, and a large Coke for a price equal to less than an hour of labor at the minimum wage – indeed, in the long sweep of history, this represents a remarkable achievement. “
” The astounding variety of foods on offer in the modern supermarket obscures the fact that the actual number of species in the modern diet is shrinking. For reasons of economics, the food industry prefers to tease its myriad processed offerings from a tiny group of plant species, corn and soybeans chief among them. “
” The family meal is really the nursery of democracy. It’s where we learn to share; it’s where we learn to argue without offending. It’s just too critical to let go, as we’ve been so blithely doing. “
” Perhaps more than any other, the food industry is very sensitive to consumer demand. “
” Europeans fought for shorter workdays, more vacation time, family leave, and all these kinds of things. Those haven’t been priorities in America: it’s been about money. You see, in the countries that fought for time, they cook more often; they have less obesity. There are real benefits to having time. “
” Is there any practice less selfish, any time less wasted than preparing something nourishing and delicious for the people you love? “
” You can make real food in 20, 30 minutes, but we’ve convinced ourselves that it is a rocket science. It’s a shame. It’s the media and the food industry: they’ve fed our panic around time. “
” You know what a lima bean does when it’s attacked by spider mites? It releases this volatile chemical that goes out into the world and summons another species of mite that comes in and attacks the spider mite, defending the lima bean. So what plants have – while we have consciousness, toolmaking, language, they have biochemistry. “
” After writing ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma,’ I wanted to write a book that got past the choir, that got to people who didn’t care about how their food was grown but who did care about their health. “
” To butcher a pork shoulder is to be forcibly reminded that this is the shoulder of a large mammal, made up of distinct groups of muscles with a purpose quite apart from feeding me. The work itself gives me a keener interest in the story of the hog: where it came from and how it found its way to my kitchen. “
” Depending on how you farm, your farm is either sequestering or releasing carbon. “
” We now eat at the end of a very long and opaque food chain. Food comes to us ready-made in packages that obscure as much information as they reveal. “
” Those of us who care about food and where it comes from will miss both Obama and Michelle. Even though Obama failed to do many things he indicated he would do around food, Michelle Obama has done a lot to shine a light on the link between diet and health, which is really important. “
” French cooking is really the result of peasants figuring out how to extract flavor from pedestrian ingredients. So most of the food that we think of as elite didn’t start out that way. “
” Without the potato, the balance of European power might never have tilted north. “
” Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. That, more or less, is the short answer to the supposedly incredibly complicated and confusing question of what we humans should eat in order to be maximally healthy. “
” The first step in reforming appetite is going from processed food to real food. Then, if you can afford organic or grass-fed, fantastic. But the first step is moving from processed industrial food to the real thing. “
” Looking at the world from other species’ points of view is a cure for the disease of human self-importance. You suddenly realize that consciousness – which we value and we consider the crowning achievement of nature, human consciousness – is really just another set of tools for getting along in the world. “
” This is part of human nature, the desire to change consciousness. “
” We love salt, fat and sugar. We’re hard-wired to go for those flavors. They trip our dopamine networks, which are our craving networks. “
” I’m very picky about the meat I eat. I eat grass-fed beef, which is now becoming more common. Yes, it’s still more expensive, but it’s a very sustainable product. “
” In the amount of time it takes to microwave a TV dinner, you can put something much tastier on the table, I promise. “
” If we’re eating industrially, if we’re letting large corporations, fast food chains, cook our food, we’re going to have a huge, industrialized, monoculture agriculture because big likes to buy from big. So I realized, wow, how we cook or whether we cook has a huge bearing on what kind of agriculture we’re going to have. “
” Every major food company now has an organic division. There’s more capital going into organic agriculture than ever before. “
” If you’re eating grassland meat, your carbon footprint is light and possibly even negative. “
” McDonald’s is in a unique position. They can decide they don’t want meat with hormones in it, and that will be the end of hormones in meat. I actually think exerting pressure on McDonald’s is probably just as important as on the Department of Agriculture. “
” It’s not food if it arrived through the window of your car. “
” As I grew steadily more comfortable in the kitchen, I found that, much like gardening, most cooking manages to be agreeably absorbing without being too demanding intellectually. It leaves plenty of mental space for daydreaming and reflection. “
” I think the most important thing we can teach our kids for their long-term health and happiness is how to cook. “
” You can have intense food experience with less food. Europeans have intense food experiences but eat less food. “
” To me, onions are the metaphor for kitchen drudgery. Cutting them is hard to do well, and they fight you the whole way. “