I just listened to this podcast and really enjoyed it. Michael Pollan was interviewed by Kara Swisher for Sway. About 40′.

I remember reading Ken Follett’s “The Pillars of the Earth” and wondering about the protagonist and his young son both drinking ale for breakfast and throughout the day. I did a little searching and discovered that ale or beer was simply safer to drink than most water sources and imagined that people likely had a small buzz on all day, every day. I wondered how many men fell to their death while building cathedrals because they had one cup to many.

No wonder then that the arrival in Europe of coffee, tea, and chocolate in the 17th century brought about so many changes. Voltaire supposedly drank more than forty cups a day. Weak coffee? Tiny cups?