So, did you eat the in-flight meal, then?” I cheekily ask Michael Pollan, mainly because he looks fresher and rosier and happier than any 55-year-old has a right to after 13 hours on a non-stop flight from San Francisco. The writer is in England to talk about his new book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. Nearly all of Pollan’s rules (“eat slowly, eat well-grown food from healthy soils”) are routinely broken by the junk served to paying hostages trapped behind tray tables and wired like battery chickens to the dictates of the flight schedule. Feed NOW. Watch godawful movie NOW. Get drunk on 15 per cent Tempranillo NOW (but only so much that it will help you to snooze so the crew can have a giggle in the galley while chowing down). Pollan owns up to ordering the Vegetarian Special, which, he says, was in a beetrooty way “not too bad”.

more from Simon Schama at the FT here.