My food plan buddy, Lily Gael, was reading to me from Pollan's new book, Cooked, and one sentence struck me so much, I copied it down. In our culture, Pollan says, "The only legitimate form of leisure is consumption."
Of course, consumption refers to lots of things: we consume TV, we consume video games, we consume goods (clothes, books, cars, toys, music). We are a consumer society. Our leisure is spent consuming. But the fact that Pollan is talking about this in a book focused on the kitchen means he's also talking about food.
Consuming food is an enormous part of our leisure. I would guess most of us eat when we get together with friends: coffee and a scone, dessert, tea and a cookie, meeting over lunch, over dinner. If we go to sports events, we eat. If we go hiking, we take food. We eat in our cars, in our beds, in front of the TV (one of my issues). I live in a city (Portland) of an astounding number of restaurants, many, if not most, of them full every night.
We seem to have lost our interest in activities that don't involve food. At the same time, we seldom just eat. We read and eat, talk and eat, watch and eat. So it isn't really about the food either. It's just about consuming.
Pollan is arguing in his book, as I understand it, for us to also be producers. To grow food, cook food, create food, not just consume it. Something magical can happen in the kitchen. Cooking has become a creative act for me, and my relationship with food and my body is changing because of it.