How Cooking Can Change Your Life: A Short Animated Film Featuring the Wisdom of Michael Pollan

Michael Pol­lan, the best­selling author who describes him­self jok­ing­ly as a “lib­er­al food­ie intel­lec­tu­al,” pub­lished Food Rules in 2009, a hand­book that offers “straight­for­ward, mem­o­rable rules for eat­ing wise­ly.” The one I remem­ber best is Rule #2. “Don’t eat any­thing your great-grand­moth­er would­n’t rec­og­nize as food.” That’s because it’s like­ly processed and “designed to get us to buy and eat more by push­ing our evo­lu­tion­ary but­tons, our inborn pref­er­ences for sweet­ness and fat and salt.” A few oth­er note­wor­thy sug­ges­tions and asser­tions include:

Rule #6: “Avoid foods that con­tain more than five ingre­di­ents.”

Rule #20: “It’s not food if it arrived through the win­dow of your car.”

Rule #37: “The whiter the bread, the soon­er you’ll be dead.”

Rule #17: “Eat only foods that have been cooked by humans.”

That last rule gets tak­en up again in How Cook­ing Can Change Your Life, a short ani­mat­ed film just released by the Roy­al Soci­ety of the Arts (RSA). The audio in the clip is an out­take from a longer talk that Pol­lan gave at RSA in Lon­don, last May. Lis­ten to the talk in full here. Below, we’ve also post­ed anoth­er RSA video that takes more Food Rules by Pol­lan and ren­ders them in stop motion ani­ma­tion. This sec­ond clip first appeared on our site back in 2012. (For a more sus­tained intel­lec­tu­al expe­ri­ence, see our pre­vi­ous post: Michael Pol­lan Presents an Edi­ble Edu­ca­tion, A Free Online Course From UC Berke­ley.)

Relat­ed Con­tent:

MIT Teach­es You How to Speak Ital­ian & Cook Ital­ian Cui­sine All at Once (Free Online Course)

Sci­ence & Cook­ing: Har­vard Profs Meet World-Class Chefs in Unique Online Course

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.