When it comes to Michael Pollan take-downs, Adam Merberg is truly the champion »
Sometimes your Vegansaurus feels like the only sane Michael Pollan critic in the world—we try to exercise restraint, but can you blame us? It’s Michael Pollan, one of our sworn enemies! Who can be calm around a sworn enemy?
Happily, we are not alone: our internet-pal Adam Merberg has an entire site dedicated to Michael Pollan’s hypocrisy, inaccuracy, and general bad attitude, particularly toward vegans, as Adam is both clever and vegan—and has extra time on his hands, we’re not entirely sure but the point is Say What, Michael Pollan? fills a niche vegans and vegetarians were dying for.*
Adam’s most recent post addresses Pollan’s most recent piece for the New York Times Magazine, a 4,000-word feature on a 36-hour dinner party with his family and a few of his chef and baker friends ["well, one of my homes”] and their families, and just how amazing and wonderful it is to eat good, local food prepared by talented local food professionals, not to mention the local wine, oh isn’t my life the most? We cooked in an outdoor oven that’s really a hole in the ground, it was such a “primitive…cooking device” just like they use in the Mediterranean, O glorious!
Beg pardon; we cannot, do not, will not help ourselves. Adam, taking a studied and serious approach, draws more interesting conclusions:
"To reconcile Pollan’s published accounts of his own diet with his advocacy for eating ‘mostly plants,’ it is helpful to consider something he said in a CBC interview in June:
For better or worse, we’ve democratized meat-eating. Meat-eating is something that was a special occasion in most households for many years….The poor got very little animal protein. So one of the nice things about industrial meat production is it makes this human desire—because it is a widespread human desire—something that even the poor could satisfy, and if we eat meat more responsibly, you know, it is going to be less democratic.
"Putting everything together, the underlying message seems to be something like this:
We need to move to a system of meat production that I consider acceptable. That’s going to make meat more expensive, so you are going to have to start eating mostly plants. I, on the other hand, have so much money that I don’t need to have even a single animal-free meal.
"Happily, those of us who don’t make as much money as Pollan don’t have to miss out on the carnivory altogether, as Pollan has thoughtfully shared his account of the dinner party in a prominent publication. Maybe we can’t afford to buy good meat, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have the privilege of reading about two accomplished chefs ‘giving the baron and the saddle a deep-tissue massage…and then wrapping them in a beautiful white lace of caul fat.’"
We strongly suggest—no, we REQUIRE, Vegansaurus requires you to read Adam’s entire post, and then read all the rest of Say What, Michael Pollan?, and subscribe to it in your feed reader so you never miss another soundly reasoned argument against Michael Pollan’s anointment as the Savior of Eating Habits, or whatever.
*or at least this vegan; I really can’t stand that guy.
This is an interesting essay on “a course focused on the slaughtering and processing of meat animals” by a food science grad student. The author was and remains an omnivore.
What do you think, vegans? One of the commenters on The Ethicurean argues that “a short happy life” that ends in “a humane death” is preferable to living in the wild and “dying of starvation or cold in the winter,” or “at the claws and teeth of a [predator].” I would say, That’s a lot of assumptions you make there, commenter “Walter Jeffries,” that 1) we can and do give domesticated animals happier lives and more humane deaths in slaughterhouses than they’d otherwise have; and 2) the only alternatives to slaughterhouse murder are bad-but-natural deaths in the wild. What about sheep and goats kept just for wool? What about horses? There are plenty of farm animals that have long and happy lives that don’t end in terror or pain.
But omnivores—and this is a point that Jake Lahne, the author, makes in his essay—are willfully myopic about such options; their desire to eat meat will trump all other considerations. When hasn’t it? When was the last time your closest animal-eating friends/relations refused to eat meat because the animal was raised on a factory farm? When did they last turn down cheese because it came from dairy cows, producers of veal calves? Anyone?
I thought not.
Friday link-o-rama: Tomato cocktails, Michael Pollan has a sad, “dangerous” foods & more! »
Top Chef's Richard Blais, who owns a fancy burger joint in Atlanta that'll likely horrify you with its menu, is looking for partners in a new vegetarian eatery. This follows a monthlong experiment in veganism.
Zooey Deschanel is vegan-ing up Top Chef Masters next week. Yes we talk a lot about Top Chef around here, but if they’re going to put veganism on TV, we’re going to tell you about it.
However, grumparella Michael Pollan thinks “food shows” are detrimental to Our Nation’s cultural heritage—if we’re all watching people mix up soup from cans and pre-cut vegetables, then how will we ever loose our own culinary imaginations? Perhaps a valid point, but then he goes on to criticize first-wave feminism for “thoughtlessly trampl[ing]” the notion that a lady can find satisfaction in her food work “in their rush to get women out of the kitchen,” which is just the most privileged-white-dude thing to say he might as well be crying over the Stars and Bars. Shut up, Michael Pollan.
Oh my god, a job: Santa Rosa needs an operations manager for a “new vegetarian fast-food franchise business.” Go on, “qualified” hopefuls, send an application already. DO IT.
Elle magazine is killing me with its “10 Most Dangerous Foods" list. Smartly, milk and beef are on it, but so are tomatoes, bagged spinach, alfalfa sprouts, cantaloupe, and "nuts" (illustrated with a photo of peanuts!). What these non-animal devil foods share is that they’ve all made people sick with salmonella and/or e. coli contamination; what Elle fails to mention is how produce comes to be contaminated with bacteria that can only come from inside animals.
You can get heirloom tomato cocktails at Range! Including the famous (and vegan!) Sungold Zinger, with Sungold cherry tomatoes, No. 209 gin, lemon, agave syrup, and salt. If you are a tomato-lover, you should probably try this; it sounds like the perfect summery respite from your bland-ola bloody mary.
According to the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, after reviewing 50 years’ worth of scientific papers, “there is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority.” The full results were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, but having read what’s available I do not fully understand the conclusion.
Seoul on Wheels, the Korean food truck, returns to the streets in August! The menu has just one definite veg item, though possibly the chap chae, and—I hope and pray—perhaps the kimchee could be veg as well. My first solid food was Korean and I would do terrible things for some vegan Korean that went beyond bibimbap.
Friday link-o-rama! »
It’s that time of the month, er week again as we take you on a tour of the internet. Some stuff we liked this week:
1. The folks at Ethical Pizza gave local vegan donut baker People’s Donuts a visit and showed us some vegan donut-making and -frying in action. It’s amazing to me how quickly People’s has expanded, I remember when they showed up on Yelp just a year ago. It just goes to show what a huge demand there is for vegan goods.
2. Always helpful Ask Metafilter has a useful vegan question: What are some good bulk vegan recipes?
3. Tips for stocking your pantry on the cheap in this tanking economy from Vegan Guinea Pig.
Friday vegan blog link-o-rama! »
1. A whole blog dedicated to vegan cookies. Cookies are delicious and so this blog is BRILLIANT!
2. Vegan Soapbox asks an always interesting question for the omnivores in the house (i.e., me!). “If I care about animals, but still eat animal products, isn’t it better to buy “humane” animal products?”
3. Ezra Klein talks about tofu. We love Ezra Klein.
4. Farmer in Chief, by Michael Pollan. As usual, Pollan merely flirts with the idea of vegetarianism, even though—frustratingly—all of his arguments seem to point to it as an obvious solution. He does advocate for the idea of the White House observing “one meatless day a week,” which has been customary for many administrations now. How about a meat-free weekend?? Or meat just on the weekends? Or how about…a VEGAN WHITE HOUSE? What’s up, Dennis Kucinich!
5. And a response to Pollan’s piece from Erik Marcus of Vegan.Com
6. Frank Bruni of the New York Times visits New York vegan restaurant Candle 79. It’s impressive that he ate there multiple times, but come on: vegan cooks have to choose from a “small larder,” and the cuisine wouldn’t be so attractive to “more hedonistic cooks.” Tut, tut. Candle 79 isn’t the best vegan resto in the world, but veganism is the diet of plenty!
7. Kerry Trueman’s excellent recap of Oprah’s Tuesday episode all about Prop. 2! If you didn’t see it, try and find someone who recorded it because it’s well worth it. Factory farms (even massively cleaned up for TV ones) on MOTHERTRUCKING Oprah?! It’s a damn good day. However, quick note to the fabulous Wayne Pacelle of HSUS: lay off the self-tanner, dude! Er, also lay off taking pictures like this. But other than that, you are kinda the best.
8. We’re not total downers this week, here are some vegan Halloween candy links and resources! Hello, Halloween deliciousness! Also, what’s your costume idea? And please don’t say anything involving the words, “sexy” or “Sarah Palin,” ESPECIALLY not combined. Dry-heaving over here.
And…a very cute animal picture! More here.