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Talking head

(article, Kim Carlson)

It would be an understatement to say that around here we appreciate Michael Pollan's 2006 book The Omnivore's Dilemma; we've practically been galvanized by the thing. No surprise then that it has shown up on many bestseller and favorites lists for the last year; most recently it was nominated for a James Beard Award. 

Now Leite's Culinaria, a popular and longtime website devoted to food, has chosen The Ominivore's Dilemma as its book of the year and is currently featuring an interview with Pollan.

The interviewer, Anne E. McBride, and Pollan talk a lot of interesting shop about food and politics. Still, this Pollan quote stood out:

bq(blue). At a time of enormous political frustration, the food issue seems a little bit more tractable. You feel like you can do more about it than you can about the war in Iraq, or any number of other problems that we have, because there is something that every individual can do. We don't always feel that. A lot of political energy in our culture is flying to the food issue because it seems much more manageable and tractable than many of the other issues we face. 

It helps, too, that food is so elemental and connected to so many things: the environment, health, and yes, politics. Everyone eats. 

Another quote that's worth pondering is this one, part of Pollan's answer to a question about the differences among audiences he's visited across the country since his book was published:

bq(blue). There are very different levels of political energy \[about food]\ around the country, right now. I would say that it's lowest on the East Coast and highest on the West Coast, and that energy levels rise as you travel from east to west. I felt that the people in Chicago and Minneapolis were much more excited about the issue than people in New York or Boston or Washington. When you get to the West Coast — Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, L.A. — the interest is intense. 

What about it, folks? East, west, or abroad, is there political energy around food in your community?