The Inspiring Persistence of Marion Nestle
Reflections on a life in food politics — plus NYC in the 1950s
“If you want to understand how people eat, you have to understand everything about society, you have to understand agriculture — you have to see the big picture, because it's so much more complicated than ‘I go to a grocery store and buy it because I like it.’ There are so many forces at work — your background, your family, your religion, what your friends are eating, the advertising, the marketing, how much money you have, how much education you have. All of those things are totally involved in it, and are inseparable, you can't extricate them.”
This week’s episode of Food with Mark Bittman is a conversation between me and Kate and Marion Nestle, who is the dean of food policy writing in this country.
Marion has been a mentor to me, and a colleague of mine; she is a friend, as you’ll hear in my voice, and someone I’ve admired for almost as long as I’ve been writing about food.
Marion studied and has a doctorate in molecular biology, but an interest in food led her to become probably the single most respected, important, and intelligent voice in food and nutrition and the policy around it in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. You can’t overestimate Marion’s importance in this field.
Marion founded and then chaired for fifteen years the Food Studies Department at NYU and is now a Professor Emerita there; literally dozens of schools have modeled departments after the one Marion created and built. Her blog, Food Politics, also the name of her groundbreaking book, is a near daily must-read for anyone who wants to keep up on meaningful developments in food policy.
You can Wiki if you want more bio on Marion, but really, you’re better off listening to this wonderful conversation Kate and I had with her about her life, and about her new book, a memoir called Slow Cooked: An Unexpected Life in Food Politics.
Please listen and subscribe, and please review on Apple if you’re so inclined. I hope you’re having a cozy late December, and we’ll see you next week.
Thank you, as always. — Mark
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