A Visit to My Kitchen: Marion Nestle

Marion Nestle is in my kitchen today! Find out what her favorite frozen treat is, her favorite childhood snack, and how she stays connected.

Marion Nestle is Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at NYU. She is the author of Food Politics (2007), Safe Food: Bacteria, Biotechnology and Terrorism (2010), What to Eat (2006), and Pet Food Politics (2008), and coauthor of Feed Your Pet Right (2010). She writes the Food Matters column for the San Francisco Chronicle, blogs daily (almost) at www.foodpolitics.com, and tweets @marionnestle.

1. Why is living organic important to you?

My work is about understanding the connection between agriculture, food, nutrition, and health. Human health and nutrition depend on food; food depends on agriculture. If we are going to survive as a species, our food supply must be sustainable, and that means organic production methods. The USDA’s organic rules forbid chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and the environment is better off without them. While the rules are not perfect, organic production leaves the soil in better condition than does conventional agriculture.

2. What was your favorite food growing up?

I was lucky to discover the miracle of garden-raised vegetables from the time I was a small child. I still think nothing beats a summer tomato warm from the sun.

3. What’s your go-to comfort food now?

Do you mean junk food? I’m partial to Häagen Dazs vanilla frozen yogurt, preferably with fresh fruit.

4. What’s the one thing in your kitchen you just couldn’t live without?

A coffee grinder. I like Gourmet Garage’s SoHo blend, because the beans are balanced and not over-roasted.

5. What magazine, website, book, album, or product are you most obsessed with right now?

I’m totally obsessed with Mead-Johnson’s Enfagrow Chocolate and Vanilla Toddler Formulas. These are expensive powdered, flavored, sugared milk for kids ages 1 to 3—unnecessarily sweetened milk for babies. Mead-Johnson has withdrawn the Chocolate but has dug in on the Vanilla. I think the product is a travesty. The mere idea of marketing a sugary product to infants is appalling. The company’s philosophy: Your toddler won’t drink milk? Try chocolate milk! No wonder Jamie Oliver encountered so much grief about trying to get sweetened, flavored milks out of schools.

6. What’s the most important news story today that you think we all need to pay more attention to?

Today? I can’t think of anything more important than what the British Petroleum oil spill has done to fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. If ever we needed an example of why food politics matters, this is it.

7. Where do you get your news?

Old-fashioned that I am, I subscribe to The New York Times and about a dozen professional journals that keep me up on the science. For breaking news, I’m grateful to all the people who send me links via email and Twitter.

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3 Responses to A Visit to My Kitchen: Marion Nestle

  1. maria rodale July 15, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    Welcome, Marian! Thank you for your great responses to my questions.

  2. Ed Bruske July 15, 2010 at 10:44 am #

    I’m sure you like Haagen Dazs because it has one of the highest fat contents of any ice cream. It’s our favorite as well. We love our dairy fat.

  3. Lindsey July 15, 2010 at 9:55 pm #

    I came across *What to Eat* back when I was just starting to question my eating habits and beliefs. It was a turning point in my life– my family and I are now devoted to eating local/seasonal/organic food. Thanks for the great interview! My kids (ages 1 and 5) have also been able to discover “the miracle of garden-raised vegetables,” thanks to Ms. Nestle’s book opening the door to a more conscious approach to food choices.

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