It's a head-to-head matchup for the ages: Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan, arguably the two most influential writers about American food politics, are both swinging through the Bay Area on their respective book tours next week. (Alas, no joint appearances are planned.) Both are promoting books that are a little outside of their comfort zones: Bittman's VB6 is a diet book explaining the principles behind his "vegan before six p.m." diet, which he credits with reversing his weight gain and pre-diabetes, while Pollan's Cooked is a documentary of how he learned various methods of cooking, from braising with Chez Panisse alum Samin Nosrat to barbecuing with a North Carolina pit master. Of course, both authors cite the political side of food as part of their latest work: Pollan believes cooking is immensely important to reversing the flawed American food system, while Bittman argues that his diet benefits the planet as well as individual health.
Pollan will kick off the proceedings with an appearance at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in SF (sponsored by the Booksmith) next Monday, May 6, at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $35 for one seat and a copy of the book, and $40 for a copy and two seats. Berkeley-based Pollan will also appear at Book Passage in Corte Madera on Monday, May 20, and at late May and early June readings in El Cerrito, Petaluma, Santa Cruz, and Walnut Creek. His website has a full list, with ticket info for each.
Bittman will start his Bay Area swing in Palo Alto on Monday, May 6, at the Commonwealth Club; tickets are $20 for non-members, or $55 with premium seating and a copy of the book. He'll then make his way to SF for an appearance at Book Passage at the Ferry Building at noon on Tuesday, May 7, then conclude with a visit to the SF Commonwealth Club that evening, which starts at 6 pm. Admission to that event is $25 for non-members, or $55 with premium seating and a book.