Letter: Pollan Review Was Astute
To the Editor:
I admit to being surprised by Judy McCarthy’s May 25 letter, “In Praise of Michael Pollan,” that referred to Nicola Smith’s review of Pollan’s book as an attack on Pollan and Alice Waters. I read the same review, but came away with an entirely different take on what I understood as Smith’s observations beyond the review of the book.
Smith says that Pollan’s book is well written and entertaining and that he and Waters are giving sound advice on food and eating habits that would improve our health and make eating a more enjoyable experience. However, Smith goes on from there to say that their advice, as good as it is, avoids addressing the real problem in the country in combating our overweight epidemic caused by poor eating habits, junk food, fast food, processed food and on and on. Both Pollan’s and Waters’ solutions give no thought to how the poor and struggling, where the overweight epidemic is the highest as a percentage of our population, are going to be able to implement those solutions — healthy home-cooked meals with a lot of fruits and vegetables. In the real world, a single working mother with mouths to feed who has run out of food stamps near the end of the month will go to Wal-Mart and buy the store brand of macaroni and cheese for $3 that has excessive amounts of salt and fat but will fill the stomachs of several kids for three meals — a dollar a meal.
Smith should be congratulated for, at least the first time in my memory, looking at our poor food choices and poor eating habits and pointing out that the solutions that Pollan, Waters and many others put forward, while certainly the right way to go, ignore or do nothing to address the realities of the poor and, to a certain extent, even the hard-pressed-but-not-quite-poor middle class.