"Q&A With The Pollan Family"
Book: Mostly Plants
Author: The Pollan Family
Sitting down together as a family for dinner just about every night definitely had a big influence on all of us – especially in terms of building confidence. If you think about it, eating meals together as a family is really the first time when you are in a group connecting with others, discussing the news of the day, and sharing thoughts and ideas – along with the food! These were such meaningful experiences.
In our eyes, having a strong family connection contributed mightily to building our confidence and self-esteem. When we were young, we started by helping with small jobs, like grating cheese, and peeling potatoes. As we got older, we took on more responsibilities by actually cooking the meals themselves. Knowing what we could accomplish in the kitchen was a truly gratifying experience.
2. What are some of the best lessons you have learned cooking together?
When we cook together it’s often a learning experience––someone has tried a new technique, has come up with a recipe idea, has thought of a great new alternative to a dish we’ve been making. This helps you keep your mind open to always exploring and learning.
On a more personal level, cooking together is like any other collaborative project—you learn wonderful lessons on cooperation, being open-minded, problem-solving, and truly listening to others.
3. A lot of family recipes are lost when the matriarchs/patriarchs pass on, how important was it to your family to share your recipes with one another and also with the world?
Sharing recipes has always been a family tradition for us. Our grandmother/Corky’s mother, Mary, was an amazing cook and a fantastic baker. We all asked her to teach us her recipes when she was alive because we wanted to replicate them for ourselves in those days.
4. Did you all grow up "Flexitarians" or did your eating habits change over time?
When we were growing up all four of us ate the classic American meal: a large portion of beef, chicken, or fish surrounded by a starch (usually potato) and a vegetable (often peas, carrots, or green beans). Over the years our eating habits dramatically changed. Two of us became vegetarians and two flexitarians.
5. Do you think this alternative eating style is bigger than a trend? If so, why?
Yes, we think a Mostly Plants style of eating is bigger than a trend and here to stay. If you look at the science and research, it shows that eating a plant-based diet is probably the healthiest way we can eat. By eating this way, we reduce the risk of chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
We live longer and weigh less. Studies have also shown there are mental health benefits as well. We are less anxious and generally tend to be happier as a whole when we eat this way. In addition, by cutting down on our meat consumption we can make a tremendous positive impact on the environment in terms of climate change; we reduce greenhouse gases significantly and save billions of gallons of water.
6. What’s your favorite comfort food?
Tracy: A baked potato with spicy mustard.
Dana: Although not very healthy, I would have to say a toasted everything bagel with cream cheese.
Corky: Once, I would have answered pasta with garlic, oil, and lots of vegetables. But recently the White Bean and Kale Quesadilla in our new book, Mostly Plants, has become my new comfort food. It’s so yummy.
7. Overall, what was your writing process like for this book?
Actually, the writing process for Mostly Plants was similar to the process for our first book, The Pollan Family Table. We would get together to work on the broad outline of the book, and then we would assign ourselves specific sections, which we would write individually. Our writing styles proved so similar, that when we reread sections of the book we had no idea of who wrote what.
8. What’s the best book you all have read in 2019 thus far?
Tracy: My brother Michael Pollan’s book How to Change Your Mind.
Dana: The best book I have read in 2019 is Educated by Tara Westover.
Corky: The memoir Educated, by Tara Westover. There are times when it is so disturbing you have to put it down, but her academic journey is mesmerizing.
9. What’s the best advice you all have ever received on happiness?
Lori: The Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Yesterday is already gone. Tomorrow is not yet here. Today is the only day available to us,” so, “Happiness is not something you find at the end of the road…it is here now.”
Tracy: My husband always says Choose Happiness, which reminds me that happiness is a choice!
Dana: To accept who you are—both your strengths and weaknesses. Express yourself and stay true to who you are, and to realize that we cannot feel “happy” all of the time—that we experience a range of emotions and that’s normal!
Corky: Whenever I turned to my husband, Stephen, for advice, he would tell me "you are exactly where you should be," which to me meant you have to accept the happy times as well as the troublesome times in life, and accept who you are.
10. Do you plan on writing more books in the future?
Yes, we would love to. We have a few ideas in the works that we are really excited about!
Places To Find More From This Author:
Facebook: Pollan Family Table