Michael Pollan Food Paper
AP English Language and Composition
28 April 2014
The Evolution of Food in My Family Michael Pollan’s recent book In Defense of Food offers a new outlook on food today. Unlike many other writers of our time, he discusses the flaws of the nutrionist system we have adopted and encourages his readers to once again follow their familiar family recipes. According to Pollan, we should no longer feel guilty about eating a traditional meal because of its supposed unhealthiness. Instead, we should embrace our roots and cultural cuisine because that is the diet that kept our ancestors alive and healthy, unlike the “scientifically proven” Western diet of today that is causing mass obesity epidemics and other health problems. As Pollan states in his book, nutrionist ideals today have had “little scientific backing from the very beginning” (Pollan 46), while conventional cultural foods have been passed down from generation to generation due to their success in maintaining health. After reading Pollan’s book, I found myself looking at my own diet and how much it has changed from that of even my mother. After questioning my mother about food in our own kitchen, I found many of our current customs are quite unlike those practiced in my grandparents’ kitchens. For better or for worse, only time can tell.
To start, my mother grew up in Hyderabad, India. Looking at how industrialized Hyderabad is now, a visitor would never have been able to imagine its humble beginnings. Yet, this was the time period my mother grew up in- one, in which, preparing for just one meal would be a workout, in itself. Cars were rare in the city at this time so my mom would have to bike from one part of the city to another because the recipe called for, “3 to 5 kilograms of dates from Nawab’s Bazar.” Not compromising on even the location of where the dates would be brought from, my grandmother would tell my mother to get dates and other dried fruits from there as her