Michael Pollan just put out another great book called Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. I first got wind of this new book via a beautiful photo-story about it in O Magazine (thanks, Oprah!) and now it’s popping up everywhere. The inspiration for the book was that Michael, who’s become one of the leading voices in national/global food activism realized that even though he was promoting the idea of home cooking as a way to reclaim agriculture, culture and health, he wasn’t very good at it. So, he set out to rectify this deficiency and we have another great book that will hopefully inspire us all to get back to “scratch”. It explores cooking via the elements Fire, Air, Water and Earth (as cooking mediums like roasting, baking, stewing and fermenting).
I found and read a great interview with Pollan about the book on Democracy Now!. Coincidentally, I actually ran into the interview because I was, in a deepening state of outrage, reading a Democracy Now! story presenting a feminist perspective on the Cleveland kidnapping case and how it is basically an outlying offense on the continuum of the pervasive culture of sexism and violence against women in both this country and globally-see my previous post about Jackson Katz’ important work on this topic.
What was interesting/ironic was that in the click of a mouse, I went from the most horrific example what is wrong with masculine culture’s relationship with women to a really lovely example of a SOLUTION, so beautifully exemplified by Pollan’s willingness to whole heartedly engage in what is often considered a very “female” activity: the cooking of food to nourish the family.
One of my favorite spiritual teachers, Alakananda Ma, points out in one of her talks that Ayurvedic doctor/teacher Vasant Lad is one of the only male Ayurvedic doctors to put out a cook book and really focus on cooking as a practice. She says that he does so specifically because it is a way of connecting to the Goddess/Feminine principle. I have certainly run into a few men who were great cooks and also had “issues” with women, but I fundamentally resonate with the idea that encouraging men to participate in cooking good food, offering of nourishment, might be a great way of stepping out of the stream of embedded negative gender-role identification that is the cause of so much suffering in our world.
So, thank you to Michael Pollan for being a wonderful example of Masculine ability to lovingly embrace the Divine Feminine! And I might add that I’m sure Vandana Shiva, Physicist/Eco-Feminist/anti-Monsanto crusader, would agree with me that Pollan is already honoring the Divine Feminine with his sustainable agriculture activism!
Michael Pollan’s full Democracy Now! interview and be accessed by clicking through here: or in the link already provided above.
*A note about the “cover” picture for this post: it is the Indian goddess Parvati nursing a baby Ganesha. This is a great example of how the feminine nourishes life -even that of a powerful God. As many people know, Ganesha (Gana-Isha -Lord of the Ganas, or Senses) is known as the remover of Obstacles. But, according to Scott Blossom, the esoteric breakdown of this is that Obstacles are usually the result of one’s erroneous sense-perception of a situation. Thus, clear perception leads to removal of the self-imposed obstacles that thwart us. But, as this picture shows, we also have to be well-nourished to have clear sense perception. And that nourishment is provided by the Divine Feminine, starting from the moment of conception by our mothers.
Happy Mother’s Day!