Michael Pollan on Cooking

Michael Pollan on Cooking


(GASPS) When I started learning
about nutrition – about which, by the way, much less
is known than you might think – I learned that what mattered most
about one’s health was not necessarily the nutrients, good or bad, that you were consuming
or staying away from, or even the calorie count. What predicted a healthy diet
more than anything else is the fact that it was being cooked
by a human being, not a corporation. Corporations cook very differently
than people do. They use vast amounts of salt,
fat and sugar. Much more than you would ever use
in your own cooking. The reason they do that is those
are three incredibly attractive and incredibly cheap ingredients. And when they’re layered properly, as in a chip or pastries
and forms of junk food, they’re incredibly addictive,
they really press our buttons. They activate our dopamine network,
our cravings. In fact, they don’t talk about
“addiction” in the food industry, even though they traffic
in addiction. They talk about “cravability”.
It’s the same thing. “Snackability” is another term
they use. It’s a lovely word(!) The last point
about corporate cooking that’s important to understand is they cook different stuff
than you do at home. In general,
they don’t cook that well, but things like chips
they cook incredibly well. Here’s a classic food
that if you make it yourself… If you’ve ever made French fries,
you have to wash the potatoes, you have to peel the potatoes,
slice the potatoes, fry them in a LOT of oil. You have to spatter
your entire stove top. You have to clean up and then
you have a pot of oil to get rid of. It’s really difficult
and it’s a pain. They’re wonderful, but it’s a pain. If you make them yourself, you’ll
only eat them every six weeks, two months, cos it’s too much work. But when you let corporations
cook for you, it’s so simple and so inexpensive
and they’re really good, that you’ll have them twice a day,
as many people in America do. The kinds of foods you end up with are labour-intensive foods
and desserts. These special-occasion foods
become everyday foods when we let industry cook for us. Eat anything you want,
just cook it yourself.