One of the suspects in my mystery novel, A Matter of Taste, is a sort of “microbe crusader,” who lectures my sleuth regarding the human gut’s need for a wide spectrum of bacteria to be healthy. The character is not surprisingly a product of my own beliefs, which—though falling short of the over-the-top proselytizing engaged in by the murder suspect in the book—do include advocating for a reduction of the use of antibiotics in our culture, as well as an increase in the consumption of bacterial-rich foods such as kimchee and yogurt.
So I was therefore quite pleased to see Michael Pollan’s newest contribution to the New York Times Magazine, entitled “Some of My Best Friends Are Germs” (5/18/13).
I always love Pollan’s articles, which tend to look at issues from a first-person perspective, thereby making what could be rather dry subjects more personal and immediate. (In the article “Power Steer,” which first brought him to my attention, for instance—a piece later expanded to become The Omnivore’s Dilemma—he purchased a calf and then followed its progress from field to packing-house.)