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Visiting Writer: Michael Pollan

10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Crosstown Alley
430 N. Cleveland

Presented by Crosstown Arts, Booksellers at Laurelwood, Church Health Center and Memphis Center for Food & Faith

Internationally-acclaimed, bestselling author Michael Pollan visited Memphis for a reading, booksigning, and dinner event on Tuesday, May 20, in conjunction with the paperback release of his most recent book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation.

Prior to the reading, Chef Miles McMath and organizers hosted an outdoor barbecue featuring locally-sourced meat and produce, with the food and cocktail menu based around the themes of the book.  Local acoustic duo Deering and Down as well as members of story booth’s spring music production workshop performed live.

This event was presented by Crosstown Arts in collaboration with The Booksellers at Laurelwood, the Church Health Center, and Memphis Center for Food & Faith,  and benefited the new nonprofit local foods distributor, Bring It Food Hub. Admission to reading was free and dinner tickets were offered at $20.

For the past twenty-five years, Michael Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where nature and culture intersect: on our plates, in our farms and gardens, and in the built environment.

In Cooked, Pollan explores the previously uncharted territory of his own kitchen. Here, he explores the enduring power of the four classical elements—fire, water, air, and earth— to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink. Apprenticing himself to a succession of culinary masters, Pollan learns how to grill with fire, cook with liquid, bake bread, and ferment everything from cheese to beer. In the course of his journey, he discovers that the cook occupies a special place in the world, standing squarely between nature and culture. Both realms are transformed by cooking, and so, in the process, is the cook.

A portion of book sales and proceeds from dinner tickets will help to support the Pay It Forward CSA program of Bring It Food Hub, which provides fresh fruit and vegetables for families in need.

Bring It is partnering with the Church Health Center to increase access to healthy and delicious locally-grown food.

More about the author:

Michael Pollan is author of Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation and of four New York Times’ bestsellers: Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (2010); In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (2008); The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006) and The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World (2001). The Omnivore’s Dilemma was named one of the ten best books of 2006 by both the New York Times and the Washington Post. It also won the California Book Award, the Northern California Book Award, the James Beard Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Pollan was named to the 2010 TIME 100, the magazine’s annual list of the world’s 100 most influential people. In 2009 he was named by Newsweek as one of the top 10 “New Thought Leaders.” A contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine since 1987, his writing has received numerous awards.

In addition to publishing regularly in The New York Times Magazine, his articles have appeared in Harper’s (where he served as executive editor from 1984 to 1994), National Geographic, Mother Jones, The Nation, The New York Review of Books, Vogue, Travel + Leisure, Gourmet, House & Garden and Gardens Illustrated, among others.

In 2003, Pollan was appointed the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, and the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism. In addition to teaching, he lectures widely on food, agriculture, health and the environment.


Visiting Writer Michael Pollan

Presented by Crosstown Arts, The Booksellers at Laurelwood, Church Health Center, and Memphis Center for Food & Faith

Tuesday, May 20

7:00 pm reception; 7:30 pm program begins

Crosstown Arts, 430 N. Cleveland

Admission to the reading is free. For the booksigning, you must purchase a paperback copy of Cooked from The Booksellers at Laurelwood, which includes a line ticket. A portion of book sales benefit new local foods distributor, Bring It Food Hub.

Back Alley BBQ with Chef Miles McMath

5-7 pm

Alley behind 430 N. Cleveland; access from front or rear parking lots.

Limited dinner tickets are now sold out.

Proceeds benefit new local foods distributor Bring It Food Hub.

Open House at the Church Health Center

5-7 pm

420 N. Cleveland

Learn more about the Church Health Center’s programs and enjoy appetizers and drinks.


Crosstown Arts – Emily Halpern, Emily@crosstownarts.org

The Booksellers at Laurelwood – Macon Wilson, mwilson@dkbks.com



Crosstown Arts