Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Omnivore's Dilemma - Book 55

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
By Michael Pollan

Fascinating book on the state of food consumption in the United States. The book is presented in 4 sections and I will not do them justice here with my simple summaries. In section one he follows corn through the production cycle as it involves food. This chapter is a shocker and will really open your eyes to how integrated corn is within the American diet, plus it will show how much corn you are eating. It makes me rethink the corn is responsible for obesity rather than dismiss it as extremism. Understand that isn’t necessarily Pollan’s position.

In part two he buys a baby cow and then follows him through his entire life cycle to the slaughterhouse. While not judging, he does present a fairly stark and accurate picture of factory animal production. In part three he travels to an alternative farm and spends a week working the land with the owners. It demonstrates the value of small scale responsible farming while at the same time showing a nice slam on the bunk that is the current “Organic” policy in the US, especially people who shop at Whole foods or the specialty section of their local grocery store.

Finally he goes hunting, both for feral pig and mushrooms. He had never been hunting before (and I can empathize with that) but he states he is ashamed to say how exciting and empowering it was. Ultimately his goal was to prepare a full meal for the people he met in the book utilizing only food he found, killed, or grew. Anotherwords he wanted to use “non barcoded food”. Not as easy as you would think.

Ultimately this was a very interesting book which will motivate you to look at your food choices more closely. It even made me want to farm a little. But given I work in the food industry, maybe you won’t find it as good as I did.

Mormon Mentions: Nothing


Renee Anderson said...

Cim recommended this to me awhile ago. I still haven't read it yet, but have read similiar topics and it it scary how the food industry has changed since WWII...the same time that cancer has skyrocketed in this country.

TStevens said...

I saw this on several different sites as a good read. He never talks about cancer but does show how food production has taken a drastic turn from where it used to be.
People say you couldn't feed everyone with old style farming, but the truth is you could. It is just no one would get rich off it.