How Cooking Can Change your Life — Michael Pollan

The RSA /Published September 4, 2013


Professor of Journalism, University of Berkely

Cooking is one of the simplest and most important steps people can take to

  • improve their family’s health
  • build communitites
  • fix our broken food system
  • break our growing dependence on corporations

The middle link of the food chain (the one that transforms farm products to meals) – infuential

McDonalds French Fries

  • Russet Burbank potatoes
  • American, long, difficult to grow
  • Net necrosis eliminated by killing the aphids by  a toxic pesticide, a neurotoxin, METHAMIDOPHOS (Monitor)

Fat, salt, sugar — incredibly addicitve when layered properly

Even poor women who cook have better health than wealthier woman who do not

Home cooking – declined since 1960s

  • a drudgery
  • something we don’t have skills for

At present 27 minutes cooking. with 4 minutes clean up.

Fast food industry – flattering our busy-ness “you don’t have time to cook,. you’re a loser if you have time to cook.”

During World War 2 – started to learn how to prolong shelf life


  • women went to work in large numbers — “We need to renegotiate the division of labor in the home” — food industry , “stop arguing, we”ll do the cooking for you.”
  • they defined not cooking as the forward-looking thing to do

Marketing — You create anxiety and then you offer a solution.

Role of the state/ Social Engineering

New York Mayor Micahel Bloomberg — 16 ounces be biggest cup for soda

Eat anything you want just cook it yourself. –Harry Balzer


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