Michael Pollan’s Book, Food Rules, Brought to Life with Animation

If you’ve lis­tened to the past decade’s con­ver­sa­tions about food, you’ll have noticed that eat­ing, always a pur­suit, has sud­den­ly become a sub­ject as well. One flank of this move­ment of enthu­si­asts has tak­en up Michael Pol­lan, a pro­fes­sor at UC Berke­ley’s jour­nal­ism school, as its lead­ing light. Whether they agree or dis­agree with his prin­ci­ples, intel­lec­tu­al­ly engaged eaters who don’t have at least a basic famil­iar­i­ty with Pol­lan’s books such as The Omni­vore’s Dilem­ma and In Defense of Food can hard­ly con­sid­er them­selves con­ver­sant in the food ques­tions and con­tro­ver­sies of the day.

Both Pol­lan’s poten­tial boost­ers and detrac­tors alike can get them­selves up to speed with his lat­est vol­ume, Food Rules: An Eater’s Man­u­al, which boils down his culi­nary weltan­schau­ung into a series of sim­ple sen­tences, includ­ing “Eat foods made from ingre­di­ents that you can pic­ture in their raw state or grow­ing in nature,” “Pay more, eat less,” and, “The whiter the bread, the soon­er you’ll be dead.” Pol­lan also takes posi­tions on entire­ly gnarli­er issues, such as the effi­cien­cy (or lack there­of) of agribusi­ness, and that’s when ani­ma­tors like Mar­i­ja Jaci­movic and Benoit Detalle pro­vide their enliven­ing ser­vices. In the two-minute video above, Jaci­movic and Detalle use pieces of actu­al food to illus­trate Pol­lan’s cri­tique of large-scale food pro­duc­tion.

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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