"What started out as an essay for the New York Times Magazine, In Defense of Food has turned into one of the most informative books of this decade. Pollan brings us back to the building blocks of nutrition: that food is simply the sum of its parts, that the effects of individual nutrients can be measured scientifically, that the main purpose of eating is to preserve well being, and that eating requires expert advice. Written in a simple manner and sprinkled with witty humor, In Defense of Food sheds a new light on the way Americans buy and consume food and the shocking secrets behind the corrupt food industry. He packs the book with years of research to deliver organized material and substantial numbers. Michael Pollan’s book is for anyone who truly cares about their health and justice in their own homes." -Lydia Burns

Botany of Desire is an educational movie based on Michael Pollan’s third book, The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World. The movie, just like the book, is split into four sections, each represented by a plant: sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control. The main theme of the movie is analyzing the success of certain plants in our culture from their perspective. It highlights that we, humans or plants, are organisms that strive for survival and the genetic prolongation of our species. In other words, humans often view plant domestication as a result of their own ingenious progress, when, really, it is the plant’s natural aim to be selectively bred in order to achieve its most potent genetic makeup. The plant has been carefully changing its features through natural selection so that one day, it may be selected by human beings and made even more resistant to threats of extinction.
            The movie also finds an interesting way to show each plant’s success in our society in terms of more civilized, man-made factors. The apple is one fruit that is immensely valued in America. Have you ever heard one say, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? The day that phrase started to spread was probably celebrated as a national holiday in the apple world. Not only are sweet apples attractive to our taste buds, but their consumption is also encouraged by a healthful guarantee. On the contrary, the day Puritans began to protest the production of hard cider probably made the original Kazakhstani apples roll over in their graves.
            Ever heard of Tulip mania? The tragic effects of the first speculative bubble in history affected the Dutch Republic in the mid-1630s. Over a span of six months, the price of a single tulip bulb rose to approximately two hundred times its original value and then plunged back to a worthless amount. It was a milestone of achievement from the tulip’s point of view, since the flower was able to populate all of Europe and beyond with their bulbs, however it was really unfortunate for the average Dutch merchant who traded his estate a few days before everyone realized the absurdity of sacrificing so much for an ugly onion-like bulb. The humans finally found themselves as the butt of the domestication joke." -Jenny Makovkina

"Have an appetite for a refreshingly informative and well-delivered documentary? Hungry for more knowledge of the foods you consume at every meal? If so, the best decision would be to pick up Food, Inc., an eye-opening documentary film directed by Robert Kenner, an Emmy-award winning filmmaker. Not only will you be exposed to the never-before-seen images of the multiple slaughterhouses in America, you will also walk the halls of America's FDA offices and meet certain people who allow bacteria and disease-filled meats fall into your shopping cart at the grocery store. With Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma (2006) and In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto (2008), and Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation (2000), as narrators, one may rest assured that they are receiving the most truthful facts with no artificial information added. One also sees the efforts made by genuine people to counteract the current life of cattle, who are being mistreated everyday and shoved into tight feeding houses to be bred and fed indigestible feed, thus providing unsanitary meats to be packed and shipped to your local grocery store. You owe it to yourself to watch this film, and to reflect the message that it delivers: Take out the big companies who are dominating the food cycle and replace it with natrual, local farmers who treat their livestock properly and humanely. Nominated for Best Documentary in the 82nd Academy Awards, you'll be in for an entertaining and informative film. Hungry yet?" -Lizz Jiang

            "Michael Pollan's latest book, Food Rules—an Eater’s Manual, is an almanac of memorable guidelines to feast by. It can be considered a supplement text to the densely detailed In Defense of Food, or simply a handbook for eating—and, consequently, living—healthy. Food Rules is split into three sections, with approximately twenty rules in each: “What should I eat?”, “What kind of food should I eat?”, “How should I eat?”.  The advice found in all three sections is summed up nicely in Pollan’s golden rule: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
            The “rules” themselves are refreshingly clear and easy to remember. They range from common sense (“Eat when you are hungry, not when you are bored”), to traditional sayings (“’The whiter the bread, the sooner you’ll be dead’”), to modern ideas (“Have a glass of wine with dinner”), and to catchy rules-of-thumb (“Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food”). Many suggestions have a paragraph or two describing their origin or explaining in further detail, but most are very straightforward.
            Food Rules is an exceptionally easy and fast read, but the advice will last you a lifetime—a very long lifetime if you eat by Pollan’s rules." -Jenny Makovkina