In column, Michael Pollan emerges as friend of bread
BakingBusiness.com, Nov. 29, 2011
by Josh Sosland
 If one were to list the top 10 writers who most hinder America’s understanding of nutrition and even broader issues of food economics, a strong case could be made for Michael Pollan heading the group. The facile attacks by this professor at the University of California at Berkeley on modern agriculture and eating have been both influential and unhelpful.

As exasperating as it often is to read or listen to Mr. Pollan, it also must be noted that the man seems genuinely likeable. Anyone who survived the first half of his book, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” and its crazed assault on the modern industrial food complex, was then able to read the second half offering an entertaining journal of Mr. Pollan’s adventures and misadventures trying to hunt and gather the foods for a great feast he prepared for family and friends.

More recently he raised eyebrows when he acknowledged he had done much “to demonize HFCS” but now realizes it’s no worse than sugar. The likeable side of Mr. Pollan also was on display recently in The Wall Street Journal, in a column about how he eats at and away from home. With confessions such as an affinity for chips or an eating rule that “when you’re traveling, there are no rules,” Mr. Pollan seems less a food zealot and more a regular foodie.

The column offers a sampling of the author’s favorite foods (pork, again and again – roasted whole, slow-cooked pork and an annual pig roast), ingredients (porcini powder) and cooking methods (he has three grills). There also is plenty for grain-based foods to like in Mr. Pollan’s favorites list. He said most hand-crank pasta makers end up on shelves, but he loves and uses his, mostly for fettuccine. A list of his favorite cookbooks begins with “Tartine Bread,” by Chad Robertson. The most pointed comment by Mr. Pollan in the entire column is one that makes a baker’s heart beat a bit faster: “I could live on bread for the rest of my life.”

In a “Wheat Belly” world, Mr. Pollan’s comments are appropriate and welcome!