Michael Pollan and Ruth Reichl Hash out the Food Revolution

Be a fly in the soup at the dinner table with two of America’s most iconic food writers

Michael Pollan and Ruth Reichl dine at Bell & Anchor in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. (Illustration by Lara Tomlin)
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R: All recipes are sped up, because now that we put times on them...

P: Exactly.

R: At Gourmet, you tell someone it’s going to take an hour and a half to make a dish...

P: ...and they wouldn’t read it! I know. I was looking at some recipes today and it was “No, nope, no...oh, 20 minutes? OK.” It’s a real problem. You spend an hour on lots of things and don’t begrudge the investment of time, the way you begrudge it cooking. We often feel like we should be doing something else, something more important. I think it’s a big problem with getting people to cook.

R: What’s your favorite thing? What do you most like cooking?

P: I love making a braise. I love brown- ing meat, the whole syntax of doing the onions or the mirepoix, and figuring out what liquid you’re going to use. It’s so simple and such a magical transformation. And I love how it tastes.

The food is delivered to the table.

R: I love everything in a kitchen—even doing the dishes. But the part of your book I found most fascinating is the section on fermented food. I’m fascinated by the pickling people.

P: That is fun. There’s so much fervor around pickling, a lot of people getting really good at it, really good artisanal picklers.

R: It’s amazing, too, such a change from “oh, pickling just means pouring some vinegar over something,” to “pickling means fermentation.


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