Michael Pollan

  • Aired:  04/22/13
  •  | Views: 13,433

"Cooked" author Michael Pollan explains that the most important thing about one's diet is not a nutrient -- it's an activity. (6:09)

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS A

BESTSELLING AUTHOR WHOSE NEW

BOOK IS CALLED "COOKED: A

NATURAL HISTORY OF

TRANSFORMATION."

I'VE PRESET MY OVEN TO

FAHRENHEIT 451.

PLEASE WELCOME MICHAEL POLLAN.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

HEY, MICHAEL.

>> HEY, HOW YOU DOING?

>> Stephen: GOOD TO SEE YOU

AGAIN.

THANKS SO MUCH FOR COMING BACK.

>> SURE.

I BROUGHT MY CARD.

MY COLBERT SUB CLUB CARD.

>> Stephen: TIMING HERE,

JUST--

>> WHAT DO I GET?

>> Stephen: YOU GET A FREE

FOOT LONG.

EVERYBODY KNOWS, THE AUDIENCE

KNOWS WHO YOU ARE, BUT FOR

PEOPLE AT HOME WHO MAY HAVE

LIFTED IN A CAVE THE LAST FEW

YEARS, YOU'RE THE BESTSELLING

AUTHOR IN DEFENSE OF FOOD, FOOD

RULES.

AND NOW YOU HAVE A NEW BOOK

CALLED "COOKED: A NATURAL

HISTORY OF TRANSFORMATION."

OKAY, MICHAEL, YOU HAVE A

FOOD BOOK PROBLEM.

( LAUGHTER )

OKAY?

NO MATTER HOW MANY FOOD BOOKS

YOU WRITE, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO

FILL THAT HOLE INSIDE OF YOU.

>> IT'S A WRITING DISORDER.

>> COLBERT: WHAT'S THE LATEST

FLIM-FLAMIN THIS ONE?

DO I HAVE TO HAVE THE COW SIGN A

RELEASE OR SOMETHING LIKE, THAT

PLAY MOZART FOR MY TOMATOES.

>> MUCH EASIER, MUCH EASIER.

>> Stephen: WHAT'S YOUR STORY

HERE.

>> THE STORY IS AFTER FOLLOWING

THE FOOD CHAIN FROM THE FARM TO

YOUR BODY EYE WROTE BOOKS ABOUT

FARMING, I WROTE BOOKS ABOUT

HEALTH.

>> Stephen: EVERYTHING IS

CORN.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: GO AHEAD.

>> AND I REALIZED THE CENTRAL

LINK IN THE FOOD CHAIN WHERE WE

TRANSFORM THE STUFF COMING OFF

THE FARMS INTO MEALS IS THE KEY

LINK.

IT EXPLAINS THE HEALTH PROBLEM

IN THAT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING

ABOUT YOUR DIET IS NOT A

NUTRIENT BUT AN ACTIVITY--

COOKING.

SO THE QUESTION ABOUT YOUR DIET

IS NOT WHAT ARE YOU EATING BUT

WHO IS COOKING IT?

IS IT A HUMAN BEING --

>> Stephen: CONSUELA.

ARE YOU SAYING THESE SHE'S NOT A

GOOD COOK?

WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?

>> I THINK THAT'S GREAT.

IF YOU CAN AFFORD CONSUELA,

FANTASTIC.

AS LONG AS A HUMAN BEING IS

COOKING FOR YOU AND NOT A

CORPORATION, YOU'RE FINE.

>> Stephen: CORPORATION CAN

COOK SO MUCH MORE EFFICIENTLY

THAN HUMANS.

THEY HAVE GIANT VATS AND HUGE

MACHINES THAT EXTRUDE FOOD AT MY

FACE.

MACHINES DO IT BETTER SOMETIMES.

LIKE, I CAN'T-- I CAN'T MAKE

FUNIONS AT HOME.

>> AND I CAN'T MAKE CHEESE

NOODLES.

THEY MAKE THAT KIND OF FOOD--

LIKE FRENCH FRIES TOO EASY.

IF YOU WERE COOK AT HOME HOW

OFTEN WOULD YOU MAKE FRENCH

FRIES?

>> Stephen: I DON'T KNOW HOW

TO MAKE FRENCH FRIES.

>> GOOD.

YOU WON'T MAKE THEM THAT OFTEN.

WHEN CORPORATIONS COOK FRENCH

FRIES FOR US, WE EAT THEM TWO OR

THREE DIFFERENT TIMES A DAY.

THEY USE CHEAP INGREDIENTS AND

LOT OF ADDITIVES TO KEEP THE

FOOD LOOKING FRESHER AND --

>> Stephen: AND CRUNCHY.

>> AND CRUNCHY.

>> Stephen: AND CRISP.

>> BUT THOSE ADDITIVES ARE NOT

SO GOOD FOR US.

THEY COOK WITH LOTS OF CHEMICALS

THAT YOU DON'T HAVE IN YOUR

PANTRY.

>> Stephen: THE BOOK IS SPLIT

UP INTO EARTH, AIR, FIRE.

IS THIS EATING PHILOSOPHY BASED

AT ALL ON THE BAND EARTH, WIND,

AND FIRE.

( LAUGHTER )

BECAUSE I BASE ALL MY EATING ON

THE BAND MEATLOAF.

( LAUGHTER )

( APPLAUSE )

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THESE

DIFFERENT SECTIONS?

EARTH, AIR, FIRE-- THERE'S A

WATER SECTION, TOO.

>> COOKING IS ABOUT

TRANSFORMATIONS OF NATURE INTO

FOOD.

IT'S A MEAL.

AND THERE ARE FOUR MAIN

TRANSFORMATION.

WE COOK WITH FIRE, BARBECUEUE

KNOW ALL ABOUT BARBECUE.

WE COOK IN POTS, WATERS, STEWS,

AND BRAZES.

AIR IS BAKE.

WE INJECT AIR INTO FOOD TO MAKE

IT MORE DELICIOUS AND

NUTRITIOUS, AND EARTH IS COOKING

WITH MICROBE WHICH IS KIND OF

THE MOST INTERESTING OF ALL.

THERE'S A LOT OF BACTERIA IN THE

SOIL, AND WE USE BACTERIA TO

FERMENT, TOO, AND FUNGUS.

>> Stephen: LIKE BEER.

>> BEER, EXACTLY.

BEER IS A GOOD EXAMPLE,

SAUERKRAUT.

THESE FOODS ARE ALL COOKED WOULD

WITHOUT THE USE OF HEAT.

>> Stephen: DO I HAVE TO MAKE

MY OWN BEER OR I CAN DRINK--

GEE.

>> Stephen: CAN I DRINK BUD

LIGHT LIME.

>> YES, YOU CAN.

LOOK, THERE ARE CERTAIN KINDS OF

COOKING WE OUTSOURCE, AND BEER

IS A GOOD EXAMPLE.

ALTHOUGH I DO MAKE BEER.

I LEARNED HOW TO MAKE BEER FOR

THE BOOK.

IT WAS KIND OF FUN AND

SATISFYING.

>> Stephen: DO YOU HAVE A

SHAME FOOD?

DOES MICHAEL POLLAN HAVE A SHAME

FOOD, THE SORT OF THING IF YOU

CONFESSED YOU ATE IT, EVERYONE

WOULD SAY, "THAT MAN IS A

FRAUD?"

WHAT IS IT?

>> WELL, IF I'M BUYING FOOD IN A

GAS STATION, WHICH I DON'T

RECOMMEND DOING, BUT

OCCASIONALLY --

>> Stephen: IT'S CREATED BY

RAW INGREDIENTS.

>> I LIKE CRACKERJACKS.

>> Stephen: OH... THAT'S

HARDLY THE WORST THING IN THE

WORLD.

>> THANK YOU, THAT'S VERY

COMFORTING.

>> Stephen: THEY'VE BEEN

MAKING IT FOR, LIKE, 120 YEARS,

RIGHT.

>> IT'S A TRADITIONAL AMERICAN

FOOD.

>> Stephen: DO YOU EAT THE

PRIZE?

THAT'S WHERE MOST OF THE

NUTRITION IS IN THE CRACKERJACK

BOX.

>> THE PRIZES AREN'T WHAT THEY

USED TO BE.

THEY'RE ALL PAPER NOW.

>> Stephen: I GET SHOCKED BY

THE THINGS I READ.

AM I GOING TO BE SHOCKED BY

ANYTHING I READ HERE OR AM I

GOING TO BE INTRIGUED?

>> I THINK YOU'LL BE SHOCKED.

>> Stephen: WHAT SHOCKS?

>> WELL, WHAT SHOCKS?

I GUESS THE SHOCK IS THE SIMPLE

FACT THAT YOU KNOW IF YOU'RE THE

MOST IMPORTANT THING ABOUT YOUR

DIET IS WHETHER IT IS COOKED OUR

NOT.

>> Stephen: FICOOK IT MYSELF

CAN I HAVE PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING?

>> YOU CAN HAVE THE PASTA.

MAYBE GET WHOLE WHEEPT PASTA IS

YOU'RE CONCERNED ABOUT THAT.

>> Stephen: WHOLE WHEAT PASTA

SUCKS.

( LAUGHTER )

( APPLAUSE )

MICHAEL, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR

JOINING ME.

ON THAT NOTE, MICHAEL POLLAN,

THE BOOK IS "COOKED."

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )