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Saturday, November 7, 2020


American Food Writer Michael Pollan.                                     Illustration: Bryan Mayes 

Excerpt from a segment of NPR’s Fresh Air with Michael Pollan with Terry Gross. For entire 35-minute podcast: click here

Noted food writer Michael Pollan gave up caffeine entirely for three months while working on his audiobook, Caffeine. "I recommend it," he says of his time without the drug. "I had some great sleeps." But he didn't realize that a temporary "loss of confidence" and lack of focus were withdrawal symptoms. 

On his experience of giving up caffeine for three months: 

“...The thing that really struck me was that I've never had [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder]. I can focus pretty well. I felt like, oh, this is what ADHD is like. I can't keep stuff out of the peripheries. The peripheral information and sense data keeps rushing in and getting in the way. I felt like I was a horse that had taken its blinders off and suddenly I could see too many degrees of circumference. So that was a real problem for working. I really had trouble sitting and writing and staying still. 

“...After a few days, this began to lift. I think anyone who delays having their morning cup of coffee knows what I'm talking about, but there was a kind of a sense of a veil or fog that had descended between me and reality. I was just kind of muzzy headed, and that gradually lifted. But I have to say, even weeks later, I felt like there was a little mental hitch between me and reality. “...I felt as if this wasn't my natural language — speaking in another language, which never goes that well or that smoothly. ... I got over it eventually, and I wrote a big chunk of the piece without the influence of caffeine. ... But it was an interesting three months. I recommend it actually. I think it's a really interesting exercise...” 


WEEKLY COFFEE QUIZ--Where in the world is this coffee establishment? Answer next Saturday in Coffee Beans & Beings post. Hint: New Spring snow and don't read the sign for maximum mystery.


LAST WEEK’S COFFEE QUIZ ANSWER—Upstate New York chic Bear Mountain bakery and coffee house is on Main Street, of course, in a 1908 historic brick building. Not fussy and fits in to uber quaint Highland Falls, NY village scene. Across from Mayor and police. Parents of West Point cadets order fresh baked goodies to deliver to the Black Knights of the Hudson 1.5 miles north. Spoil those Plebes.  

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