Michael Pollan Shares the Joy of Cooking


TORONTO — The University of Toronto’s Isabel Bader Theatre in Toronto was packed to the rafters yesterday, as foodies, media and free thinkers gathered to hear food activist Michael Pollan discuss his new book, Cooked.


Matt Galloway of CBC Radio One’s Metro Morning led the discussion with the writer whose latest tome explores the value of cooking, reclaiming it as the key to a more nourishing, healthy life. “That hour in the kitchen at the end of the day has been therapeutic,” said the writer and University of California, Berkeley, journalism professor. “It’s when I reconnect with my wife and my son.”

But, aside from the emotional value of cooking, Pollan’s book recounts research that hypothesizes that humans evolved to be smarter once they started cooking and stopped eating raw food, which the body needs more time and energy to process. “Cooking gave us our brain and made us who we are,” explained the writer to a captivated audience.

And, although the art of cooking was lost largely as women began working and food became industrialized, Pollan implores us all to get back into the kitchen. He’s hopeful this shift is imminent and saw signs it might be when people continued to pay extra money for local, organic food during the recession. “The fact that healthy food costs more is a problem,” he admitted. “We need to figure out how to democratize organic, healthy food.”

So, although the food movement is largely perpetuated by the upper class, the food advocate doesn’st believe it will stay that way. “If in 20 years it remains that way, that will be a damning indictment,” he said. “People in the inner city need [good food], too , and we have to figure out a way to help them get it.”

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