Tag Archives: Michael Pollan
Michael Pollan, taking the stage at the 31st Annual Northern California Book Awards on Sunday June 10, accepted the Fred Cody Award for Lifetime Achievement with two caveats: first, he’s not that old. And second, he’s lived in California (on Berkeley’s north side) for only nine years.
The internationally renowned food activist, journalist, and author gave a humorous account of a reading he gave early in his career at Cody’s Books on Telegraph Avenue. Botany of Desire had just come out, and among the fans to hear him read was a woman in purple attire who repeatedly raised her hand during his presentation. When called upon, the woman objected to Pollan’s use of the word “pests” to describe aphids that attack plants. Doing a fine imitation of himself as the bemused young writer, Pollan recalled asking what term she might prefer. The woman’s lightning-quick reply? “Associate species.”
Sedge Thomson, who maintained admirable poise on crutches after breaking his ankle a few days earlier, emceed the awards ceremony. Thomson, a Berkeley resident, announced the names of finalists in six categories, beginning with Fiction and Poetry in Translation. The translators received applause from the audience at San Francisco Public Library’s Koret Auditorium before exiting stage right to await the verdict. … Continue reading »
The East Bay Literary scene is heating up. Never before in the 31-year history of the Northern California Book Awards have the Fred Cody Award for Lifetime Achievement, plus ten nominations for book awards, all been given to East Bay writers.
The authors who have been nominated represent a wide range of disciplines, expertise, and artistic talent. They include: Barry Eichengreen, Adam Hochschild, Andrea Lingenfelter, Mary Mackey, Edie Meidav, Sandra Gilbert, David Meltzer, Michael Pollan (Fred Cody Award Winner), Amy Reed, and Katherine Silver.
Each week, from now until the June 10 Awards Ceremony, Berkeleyside will spotlight one of these writers. … Continue reading »
Tonight, at Builders Booksource on Berkeley’s Fourth Street, Kathleen Brenzel will introduce the new, ninth, edition of the “Sunset Western Garden Book“, the iconic gardening bible which is in its 80th year.
Brenzel, Sunset’s Garden Editor, paused on her busy book tour to answer some questions posed by Berkeleyside. Naturally we selected to focus on Berkeley.
What do you think of when you think of Berkeley and gardening?
Diversity. Woodland, meadow, and even tropical gardens thrive here. … Continue reading »
Benoit Detalle and Marija Jacimovic, a freelance editor and animator, created this adorable film of animated vegetables explaining how Berkeley author Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules” work.
Pollan’s message here is that organic works, especially in the developing world, and we can grow enough good food to feed people if we stop using it for industrial meat operations and biofuel projects.
According to Jacimovic, writing about the film on Viemo, the pair used a mixture of stop-motion and compositing. “Our aim and challenge was … Continue reading »
As mid-life crises go, Marc Kelly’s was a pretty productive one — with a little spice thrown in for good measure.
Seeking change after a 20-year career in the fruit and vegetable export business, Kelly was keen to open a food joint of his own. Something modest and manageable, a takeaway place that satisfied his culinary aspirations and cravings.
Kelly, a self-taught chef, determined that soup was an unexplored market niche in the edible landscape. He sensed an opportunity. Six years into serving up soup every day, Kelly’s enthusiasm for the comfort food he sells is still apparent.
He has a loyal band of regulars — Kelly sees them coming and knows which ladle to reach for. And his years of global travel inform what he sells: every culture has a soup tradition and on the road he learned the universal language of soup. … Continue reading »
Berkeley’s food mavens will likely be out in force tonight at the Good Food Awards at San Francisco’s Ferry Building and many of the judges for this annual event — sponsored by Seedling Projects and now in its second year — hail from this city’s gourmand ranks. But only one Berkeley name may find a place on the winners’ podium.
The concept behind this socially and ethically responsible food contest is to highlight “best in show” from five regions of the country in various edible categories. This year, prizes will go to makers of beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, pickles, preserves, and — a new area — spirits.
At last year’s soirée — with a keynote address by restaurateur and sustainable food champion Alice Waters — three Berkeley winners emerged in the beer, charcuterie, and pickles categories. … Continue reading »
As the year draws to a close, it’s time to look back to see what food stories created a buzz around town and on Berkeleyside in 2011.
Granted, there’s an arbitrary nature to such end-of-year lists. But it’s an opportunity to take stock of the city’s culinary culture.
For the purposes of this post we’ve focused on food news stories, which doesn’t take into account the dozens of interviews with foragers, farmers, artisans, advocates, chefs, cooking teachers, preservers, pasta makers, cheese purveyors, pop-up restaurateurs, and farmers’ market vendors we’ve published during 2011.
This year also saw controversial coverage of corner stores, reporting on detractors of school food, an insider’s take on speed dating with a veg-friendly focus, and a widely criticized first-person piece on disappointing camp chow.
Readers may differ on what food stories caught their attention. Feel free to add your own highlights (or low points) in the comments section.
In alphabetical order: … Continue reading »
As commutes go, Eduardo Morell knows he’s onto a good thing. The south-west Berkeley dweller spends 35 minutes behind the wheel before he reaches the bucolic setting that is home to the Headlands Center for the Arts near Sausalito, in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. He’s greeted by fresh air, windswept hills, blue (or fog-filled) skies, the sound and smell of the ocean, and the seasons on display.
It is, without doubt, a special spot. That Morell gets to call it his workplace only makes it more magical.
The baker behind Morell’s Bread spends two 14- to 16-hour days at this artists’ enclave in a collection of former army barracks in the Marin Headlands, where he bakes naturally leavened bread in a wood-burning brick oven designed by master-builder Alan Scott. His loaves are served up to the artists-in-residence and sold at the Thursday and Saturday farmers’ markets in Berkeley. … Continue reading »
Sometimes a spoonful of sugar does, indeed, make the medicine go down. Though you won’t find that catchphrase in the just-released hardcover edition of Food Rules, Michael Pollan‘s best-selling little eater’s manual.
Food Rules does sport the whimsical and witty illustrations of well-known artist Maira Kalman, however. And the new book also boasts 19 new rules — many gleaned from eaters around the country that Pollan wished he had thought of and included the first time around.
Take two is again full of commonsense kitchen wisdom such as If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re probably not hungry; and When you eat real food, you don’t need rules.
The takeaway message: food need not be complicated, and the act of eating is as much about pleasure and communion as it is about nutrition and health. In other words: lighten up a little and enjoy your dinner. … Continue reading »
The organizers, the Center for Science in the Public Interest in D.C., certainly hope so. A national, grassroots campaign, Food Day is designed to celebrate what we eat while drawing our attention to the need to overhaul this country’s food system from farm to fork. In this way it is similar to Earth Day which sparked widespread interest in the fragile nature of our planet.
Events planned for Monday, including in Berkeley and around the Bay Area, will highlight the good, bad, and ugly of the way we consume food in this country.
Simply put, how we grow, transport, process, market, and eat is not sustainable for the environment or our health, said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of CSPI and the creator of Food Day in a recent piece for The Atlantic. Dietary diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart attacks are rising at alarming rates. Industrially raised meat sucks up energy, pollutes the land and water, and is cruel to beast and worker alike.
Even in places like Berkeley where local, seasonal, organic, sustainable, and fresh food is available in abundance, too many people lack access to good grub and/or go hungry or malnourished. … Continue reading »
The next few days in Berkeley will be all about Alice. You know, Alice Waters. Forty years ago, on August 28, 1971, she opened Chez Panisse in a small shingled building on Shattuck Avenue. The inaugural dinner consisted of pate en croute, duck with olives, salad, and almond torte. The dinner was a few hours late, cobbled together by a number of well-meaning but amateur chefs, but it was good. And fresh. And it started a transformation in California cuisine … Continue reading »
People seem to have an insatiable appetite for food matters right now. Case in point: the public tickets for Edible Education 101 at UC Berkeley were snapped up in 12 minutes on Monday, according to a tweet from Alice Waters, who played a key role in bringing the curriculum to the university.
When word leaked out in the spring that Michael Pollan would be co-teaching a class on the rise and future of the food movement, students at UC Berkeley rushed to sign up. The 10-week, two-unit course was filled minutes after it was listed online.
Now, the general community has a chance to participate in this gold rush.
UC will be releasing tickets for Edible Education 101 on a first-come, first-serve basis on August 15. There will be about 282 tickets available for each class and people will be able to sign up for just one lecture or all of them, said Carolyn Federman, director of development for the Edible Schoolyard, which is co-sponsoring and paying for the course. The tickets will be free and will be sold through Ticketweb, she said.
Pollan is co-teaching Edible Education 101 with Nikki Henderson, the executive director of People’s Grocery, a food justice organization in Oakland. While Pollan and Henderson are the co-teachers, much of the class will center around lectures given by luminaries in the food movement. Confirmed speakers include Carlo Petrini, Peter Sellars, Marion Nestle, Frances Moore Lappé, Raj Patel, Ann Cooper, Eric Schlosser, and Alice Waters. … Continue reading »