Seeing Michael Pollan speak was on my list of things to do. When it was announced he was coming to Santa Barbara, I marked it on my calendar. But somehow, I got busy. Let’s see, there was a birthday party to plan and a book club dinner to prepare for. By the time I looked up, it was Thursday evening and the event was sold out. If you know me well, you may have heard this sentence come out of my mouth, “things just tend to work out.” Thursday was a prime example of my life philosophy. I decided to take a chance and go down the Granada Theater early to see if anyone was selling a ticket. The end result? I got a FREE orchestra ticket from the director at my daughter’s school after they had a last minute cancellation. The bonus? The parking attendant was no longer at the kiosk, so I got free parking too.
The event was billed, An Evening with Michael Pollan in Conversation with Renee Montagne. The newly remodeled Granada stage featured two oversized, tan leather chairs and a coffee table filled with a mound of whole fruits and vegetables (although from my vantage point, they looked fake). Michael walked onstage with Renee, he in an slim-profile olive suit, her in a black dress ensemble. Renee announced that this would be a casual event; she would ask questions first and then there would be an audience Q&A at the end. The theater has a strict policy against the use of cell phones during any show, so I was forced to take notes on my program in the dark. I did my best to get exact quotes, but some may be slightly off (since I couldn’t read all my own handwriting).
McDonald’s is making headlines again, this time for their Fruit & Maple Oatmeal. In Mark Bittman’s New York Times Opinionator article, How to Make Oatmeal…Wrong, he lambastes McDonald’s for turning their oatmeal into “expensive junk food.”
So why is McDonald’s oatmeal so unhealthy? It starts with the fact that their new “bowl full of wholesome” contains 21 ingredients or as Bittman says,
“A more accurate description than “100% natural whole-grain oats,” “plump raisins,” “sweet cranberries” and “crisp fresh apples” would be “oats, sugar, sweetened dried fruit, cream and 11 weird ingredients you would never keep in your kitchen.”
So what is actually in the oatmeal? McDonald’s first ingredient list shows: Oatmeal, Diced Apples, Cranberry Raisin Blend, Light Cream. Wow, only 5 easy-to-understand and simple ingredients; sounds good, right? But then as you look down the page a bit you realize that each of those ingredients have sub-ingredients: