The New American Meal: A Panel Discussion with Mollie Katzen, Michael Pollan, and Ann Vileisis
By Rick Kleffel
The Agony Column, January 7, 2008
“You are what you eat,” we’re so often told. And that is certainly true, but if you care to pursue that line of reasoning, you’ll start looking more closely at the individual components of your meals and their ingredients. Michael Pollan decided to follow this line, and the result was the best-selling and utterly compelling The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which he has followed up with In Defense of Food. As I read The Omnivore’s Dilemma, I couldn’t help but think of two other recent books I’d read; Kitchen Literacy by Ann Vileisis and The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without by Mollie Katzen. To me it seemed that all three writers were homing in on the same realization about what America eats and why. And it seemed natural — a word freighted with meaning in the conversation that followed — that I bring together the three writers together to talk about what I call the New American Meal. The conversation took place at the J-School Studios at UC Berkeley, engineered by Milt Wallace.