Dr. David Kessler is in my kitchen today, talking about his favorite food memories from a Long Island childhood, and his grown-up comfort food treat.
David A. Kessler, MD, served as Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Dr. Kessler, a pediatrician, has been the dean of the medical schools at Yale University and the University of California–San Francisco. He is the father of two grown children and lives with his wife in California. Dr. Kessler’s book, The End Of Overeating, is available today in paperback.
Why is living organic important to you?
What I do try to do (although I’m far from perfect, and sometimes there are temptations I can’t resist) is to eat “real food,” foods that are not layered and loaded with sugar, fat, and salt. That way I avoid foods that are highly caloric, which is important to me.
What was your favorite food growing up?
I grew up on Long Island in the 1950s and ’60s—was there anything better back then than a great Italian meal at one of the many family-owned restaurants? I have many happy memories of chicken Parmesan.
What’s your go-to comfort food now?
Does dark chocolate count? I like the small discs, and just a couple do the trick.
What’s the one thing in your kitchen you just couldn’t live without?
Sharp knives! And it doesn’t matter what brand (although, those Cutco ones are good); they have to be the right ones for tomatoes, onions, bread, and so forth.
What magazine, website, book, album or product are you most obsessed with right now?
I’m thoroughly enjoying my iPad—great for reading the newspapers the night before they’re delivered to the house.
What’s the most important news story today that you think we all need to pay more attention to?
We of course have to be paying attention to the news on conflicts around the globe, the environment, and the economy in general, but I am most focused now on the obesity epidemic, and how it is affecting our health and the cost of health care.
Where do you get your news?
I read The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal (via the iPad and the kitchen table), receive news from many sources on my computer throughout the day, and I try to watch at least one network’s evening news (recorded and watched later in the night), as well as the Sunday news programs.