Ring Dings and Japanese Toilets: Michael Pollan Ventures Out of His Element


This past weekend on National Public Radio’s “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me,” Michael Pollan made a guest appearance. Usually, the host of this news quiz show asks the famous person about his or her work, and sometimes the panel of comedians and writers chimes in with a few funny comments. To my surprise, this time around, comic Paula Poundstone gave the guest a run for his money.

Humans the only species that needs experts to tell them how to eat? Au contraire. Poundstone pointed out that she’s constantly telling her dog to get his head out of the garbage can.

Ring Dings possibly not a real food? Poundstone proved that they handily pass the five-ingredients-or-less test, totaling just three: Devil’s food cake, creamy filling, and a rich chocolate outer coating.

Then Pollan admitted to buying Fruity Pebbles for his kid, and had to answer tricky questions about Japanese toilets. Though he did endure more joshing than most guest contestants receive, and got grilled on something he knows little about (this is par for the segment, appropriately called “Not My Job”), he won! Must be all that good food eaten in the company of family and friends. Keeps the mind sharp!

Whatever you like to eat, the “Not My Job” exchange is worth a listen.

Photo credit: (CC) Larry D. Moore

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4 Responses to “Ring Dings and Japanese Toilets: Michael Pollan Ventures Out of His Element”

  1. Asparagus Soup Says:

    One time I was at Fresh Choice, and I was testing the brownies there under the five-ingredients-or-less test. Similar to Poundstone’s Ring Ding comment, the brownies’ ingredients were these:

    eggs, oil, water, brownie mix.

  2. patti Says:

    my husband and i were lucky enough to be at the taping of that show, and therefore privy to the 10-15 minutes of side-splitting hilarity during the pollan segment that got left on the cutting-room floor (hard drive, i guess, these days…). don’t remember the last time either of us has laughed so hard. pollan was urbane and fascinating as always, not to mention a remarkably good sport, but paula was simply inspired. a most memorable evening.

  3. Rhea Yablon Kennedy Says:

    Asparagus Soup — That is hilarious!

    Patti — I’m jealous! I’d love to hear what the public missed, if you’re inclined to share :)

    Thanks for reading!

  4. Rhea Says:

    I love Michael Pollan, Paula Poundstone and “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me,” yet somehow I missed that show.

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