Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April 2011: Discussion Highlights from "In Defense of Food"

"In Defense of Food" Discussion Questions

1. Michael Pollan approaches eating as an activity filled with ethical issues. Do you agree that the act of eating is as morally weighty as he says it is? What questions concern you most about the way you eat or the way your food is created?
2. Pollan shows a number of instances in which government policies have apparently worsened the crisis in our food culture. What do you think should be the proper role of government in deciding how we grow, process, and eat our food?
3. Pollan also says that after 30-years of nutritional advice from health experts, we're actually sicker than before. Do you agree? What kind of evidence does he use to support that claim?
4. Pollan suggests we eat food, rather than “edible, food-like substances”, pointing a finger at "nutritionalism". Why would increased understanding of the science behind food create an eating problem?
5. Do you have real attachment to any food-like substances? Why do you have that attachment? How significant is it?
6. Pollan writes: “eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” What do you think about the simplicity of his philosophy?
7. Not too much: do you agree we are eating in larger portions now than before? Why would this be so? Is it related to other trends?
8. Mostly plants: have you attempted to move yourself, your family or those you cook for in this direction? Do you get any resistance? Why or why not?
9. What solutions does Pollan offer to help us make thoughtful choices, both in our own eating habits and in protecting the natural food supply?
10. At the end of In Defense of Food, Pollan offers a series of recommendations for improved eating. Which, if any, do you intend to adopt in your own life?
11. Which of Pollan’s recommendations would you be least likely to accept, and why?
12. Talk about specific passages that struck you personally – as interesting, profound, illuminating, disturbing, sad, etc.?
13. What, in the course of his writing, does Michael Pollan reveal about his own personality? What do you like about him? What, if anything, rubs you the wrong way?
14. Do you think the people who appreciate reading are more likely also to appreciate good cooking and eating? Why would that be?
15. If Michael Pollan were coming to your place for dinner, what would you serve him and why?

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