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Mindful : October 2014
6 mindful October 2014 In a long career, our back- page ar tist Maira Kalman has depicted ever ything from American history to the prob- lem of uncer tainty to New York City from above—not to men- tion chronicling her journey into mindfulness here in Mindful. Among her work is a fanciful illustrated edition of Michael Pollan’s Food Rules, so Maira kindly gave me an introduction to Pollan and on a recent trip to San Francisco, I enjoyed a lunch with him. Well-known for books advocating a different way of eating, in his latest, Cooked, he tells the stor y of his decision to take a greater interest in preparing food. Big surprise: He fell in love with the magical, alchemical process of trans- forming ingredients into meals. Pollan’s favorite thing to eat seems to be salad, which is not so much cooked as gathered and arranged. When you unpack his now famous cardinal rule from In Defense of Food, “eat food, not too much, mostly plants,” you find it has many corollaries, including that food means whole food, not “edible food-like substances” (a Twinkie for example) and that when he says “mostly plants,” he likes to add “especially leaves.” We ate at his friend Alice Waters’ Berkeley restau- rant, Chez Panisse, and his meal consisted of two salads. They were hear ty and color ful and locally grown. Waters and he are compa- triots in trying to elevate the American way of eating. Over the last few decades we’ve been eating more while the quality of our food has been going down. We’ve gone from 15,000 bar codes in our food stores to 600,000, and most of that is “edible food-like sub- stances” loaded with sugar, fat, and salt. Waters is approaching the problem through her Edible Schoolyard project, which aims to teach children about good food and how to grow and pre- pare it from a young age. Over lunch, Pollan mused about food and mindfulness. It’s not so much that you need ex tra mindfulness to appreciate real food. It’s that an encounter with real food—the taste of it, the look of it, the growing, the preparation, the sharing with others, the total feast of the senses—is inherently mindful. ● Lunch with Michael Pollan — Barr y Boyce, Editor-in-Chief barr