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The Omnivore's Dilemma: The Search for a Perfect Meal in a Fast-Food World (reissued) Paperback – 17 Jan 2011

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  • The Omnivore's Dilemma: The Search for a Perfect Meal in a Fast-Food World (reissued)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks (17 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408812185
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408812181
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For the past twenty years, Michael Pollan has been writing about the places where the human and natural worlds intersect: food, agriculture, gardens, drugs, and architecture. His book The Omnivore's Dilemma, about the ethics and ecology of eating, was named one of the ten best books of 2006 by the New York Times and the Washington Post. He is also the author of In Defence of Food, The Botany of Desire, A Place of My Own and Second Nature, and the upcoming Food Rules: An Eater's Manual.

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Review

'Beautifully written and shocking investigation of what slips into the swelling American stomach ... entertaining and eloquent' (Daily Telegraph)

'This is one of the most thought-provoking books I've read in a while ... After you read this book there will be things you don't want to eat, ever again ... An honest, brilliant, troubling book. I recommend it to anyone' (Evening Standard)

'Convivial, creative and deeply disturbing, though he does offer hope ... it has certainly changed the way I think about food' (Audrey Niffenegger, Guardian)

'On our we-need-to-know-this reading list ... a patient investigation of his nation's calorie industries' (Mail on Sunday)

Book Description

The startling truth behind the food we consume in the twenty-first century

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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Brian Griffith on 24 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback
This is the most basic culinary detective book. In modern America, Michael Pollan wonders what to eat: "... imagine for a moment if we once again knew, strictly as a matter of course, these few unremarkable things: What it is we're eating. Where it came from. How it found it's way to our table. And what, in a true accounting, it really cost."

Of course most North Americans can't answer these questions in any self-satisfying way, so Pollan sets off on the case. He journeys through the belly of the food industry beast -- to the massive government-subsidized corn plantations of Iowa, the huge cattle feed lots and the slaughterhouses. He visits the plants where trainload after trainload of corn is refined into the chemical components of processed food, and then he takes his family to McDonalds.

Searching for alternatives to totally explore, Pollan visits large-scale organic plantations. He works for a spell on an organic family farm in Virginia, helping to slaughter the chickens for his next gourmet meal. And last he goes whole hog back to the hunter-gatherer days, searching for mushrooms and shooting a wild pig in the forests of Northern California.

The whole experience yields tons of great stories, and the kind of good common sense I can't resist quoting:

"A tension has always existed between the capitalist imperative to maximise efficiency at any cost and the moral imperatives of culture, which have historically served as a counterweight to the moral blindness of the market. This is another example of the cultural contradictions of capitalism -- the tendency over time for the economic impulse to erode the moral underpinnings of society." (p.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By PZE on 4 May 2008
Format: Paperback
An elegantly and thoughtfully written book on the modern food industry that feeds us. Pollan demonstrates a refreshing openness, sharing how his journey through mass produced, organic, and hunter-gatherer food systems affects him without ever sinking into sentimentality - even when shooting a wild pig his insight into what it means to be a hunter is superb.

Without doubt one of the best books on food that I have ever read and one that will withstand the test of time, if for no other reason than the issues he covers of where our food comes from, how it is produced and what that might mean are as relevant today as they ever have been.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By PoppySeed on 28 Jun. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Omnivore's Dilemma addresses the question: if you have the opportunity to eat anything, how do you know which things are best to eat? It delves into the food chains behind various meals, from the industrial to the pastoral.

The skills of Michael Pollan, the Knight Professor of Journalism at U.C. Berkeley, shine through in this book. It is remarkably clearly written, and addresses a broad range of perspectives and potential criticisms. It avoid preaching, which would be so easy to do with this subject, and instead presents information as information, and opinion as just that.

If you are remotely interested in what you put in your mouth, and where it comes from, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ingram on 4 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
As an avid UK subscriber of the USA magazine "NUTRITION ACTION", especially their monthly "Food Porn" section I had an awareness of what went on but this book make it clear as far as meat is concerned.

Here in London England and i guess Europe generally we seem to have a better idea of how discusting some meat products can be but there are always surprises as this book shows. We always buy free range meat for home use but of course are reliant on the supplier. We use (wonderful) Ginger Pig and (first class) Lidgates Butchers.

Yes I enjoy Corned Beef (its UK name) Bacon, and kosher frankfurters and hotdogs etc but , like smoking cigarettes, now get a frisson of 'danger', All those nitrates, MRM meat, fats etc! As for catering supplies who would now eat a Hamburger from a stadium or greasy spoon cafe?

I also strongly recommend Harold McGee FOOD AND COOKING. This changed my lfe and the way I ate and cooked. It was Heston Blumenthal's one item of choice for his Desert Island!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ivor R. B. Hibbitt on 20 Nov. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Omnivore's Dilemma

By Michael Pollan

A Review by the Cote d'azur

Men's Book Group

In a world where hunger is a black mark on the ruddy face of the well fed it is almost indecent to note that while millions are starving further millions are fighting obesity to the extent that dieting has become an obsession .

Do we feel ashamed as we watch TV films of flesh and bone victims of tribal warfare in Africa, people fighting for every grain of maize while their oppressors threaten to end their misery by killing them? We in the West fill our supermarket trolleys and eat well while our fellow human beings scratch the scorched earth with their fingers

Is there not a paradox in that while we feel genuine sorrow for these victims our eyes are fixated on our desire for a full belly courtesy of the vast food industry?

It is the mass production food chain system of the United States of America that Michael Pollan, author of this superb book, puts under the microscope and reveals the good and the bad points of an industry that is as streamlined as any car industry with its cow to calf philosophy.

This farming industry aims for the maximum gain from processing the herds; Life begins in the birthing sheds and usually ends some l8 months later with a market weight steer entering the kill \zone where it is stunned and prepared for market. The steer has spent all its life on a "foodlot" a giant farm production area where everything it needs to grow big and strong is provided.
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