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The Omnivore's Dilemma: The Search for a Perfect Meal in a Fast-Food World (reissued) [Paperback]

Michael Pollan
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
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Book Description

17 Jan 2011
What shall we have for dinner? Such a simple question has grown to have a very complicated answer. We can eat almost anything nature has to offer, but deciding what we should eat stirs anxiety. Should we choose the organic apple or the conventional? If organic, local or imported? Wild fish or farmed? Low-carb or low-cal? As the American culture of fast food and unlimited choice invades the world, Pollan follows his next meal from land to table, tracing the origin of everything consumed and the implications for ourselves and our planet. His astonishing findings will shock all who care about what they put on their plate.

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Frequently Bought Together

The Omnivore's Dilemma: The Search for a Perfect Meal in a Fast-Food World (reissued) + In Defence of Food: The Myth of Nutrition and the Pleasures of Eating: An Eater's Manifesto + Food Rules: An Eater's Manual
Price For All Three: 18.72

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks (17 Jan 2011)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 1408812185
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408812181
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,504 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.

Product Description

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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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
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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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
By Dennis Littrell TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
The Omnivore's Dilemma is this: what to eat and what not to eat. Sounds easy, but as Michael Pollan shows this dilemma is at the heart of what both divides and joins people at the most visceral level. The dilemma is sharp because the question of what to eat and what not to eat is moral as well as nutritional. It is practical as well as esthetic. It is a question that engages all people in all cultures. It pits traditional values against modernity. There is the family that eats together a meal prepared by a family member or members, and the meal that is eaten on the run prepared by agribusiness and heated in a microwave. There is fast food and the Slow Food movement. There is the question of whether to eat meat or not, and if not, whether to be a vegetarian or a vegan or something in-between. And if we do eat meat, should a distinction be made between free range flesh and the factory kind? Should the suffering of animals spoil our appetite? We are omnivores, but in a world of so many of us, can we really continue to eat so high on the hog?

Pollan addresses these questions and many others in a courageous and uncompromising way that should gain the respect of all readers, whether they agree with his conclusions or not.

The book is in three parts, with four characteristic meals.

Pollan begins with "Industrial Corn" (Part I) and a fast food meal from McDonald's in the car. This part of the book, which could be an entire book itself--and a very good one--tells the story of corn and how it has come to dominate the American food industry.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cogent, well-written, fascinating 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfectly cut dish 4 May 2008
By PZE
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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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
By Louisa
Format:Paperback
This book is very similar to 'fast food nation' in the way that it exposes the hidden mechanics of the food industry. But it does not focus solely on fast food.

The first section concentrates on the way a MacDonalds meal is produced, from its humble(?) beginnings in a corn field in Iowa, to the end product being consumed in the author's car; fascinating and page turning. The middle section concentrates on an 'organic' meal, and really opened my eyes to the idea of organic - it is not all you think it to be, and after reading this book I have reassessed what I think to be an environmentally friendly food. The last section outlines the author's search for a meal from foraging in the forests and fields around his Californian home. Fascinating again. Noone should think they know enough to pass this book by.

I gave it four stars, because the last section gets a little heavy going, but it all ties up well at the end, and worth sticking with it; I love the way that he concludes that the first (fast food) and last (foraged) meals are both two extremes and both unsustainable in the present world. MacDonalds should be saved for a 'treat' once a year and although he doesn't say it, he implies that we should all aim towards consuming locally produced, (not neccessarily organic) food that is the least 'costly' towards the environment - outlined in the meal of the middle section.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars very educational book
every food lover should read this book to know what their products really consist of, gives a loop into food production.
Published 5 months ago by Annika
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading
very interesting in places. as someone who doesn't normally read non fiction I was surprised how readable this book was. more Americanised than I expected but still worth a read.
Published 5 months ago by John Scott Hardie
4.0 out of 5 stars Omnivore's dilemma
This book certainly takes the lid off the food production in USA. They are being fed with GM foods which they cannot digest and so they put on more and more fat. Read more
Published 5 months ago by D. F. Louis
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Book Which Reveals More About Food Industry's Hidden...
"The Omnivore's Dilemma" is an amazing book which reveals more about food industry and the shortcuts they use. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Dan Ionescu
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight into the food industry
Michael Pollan is my food guru! He has helped me change my view on food in general and the food industry
Published 9 months ago by Natasha Walter
5.0 out of 5 stars Sobering
If what goes on in the US eventually comes here, we had brace ourselves. It made me really think again about where our food comes from and what we are eating that is making us... Read more
Published 10 months ago by H. Macrae
5.0 out of 5 stars Life-changing
I can't even think of the last time I read something that completely changed my life. I recommend this to anyone who wants to open their eyes, and start looking around at how they... Read more
Published 10 months ago by la
4.0 out of 5 stars eye opener and a half
This book is for anyone concerned about industrialization of agricultureand food production or is in the slightest concerned about what they are eating and the tampering with the... Read more
Published 11 months ago by M. Berry
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and insightful read
I had a feeling I would like this book and I was right. It offers an insight into the whole of the food industry in the US. Read more
Published 11 months ago by H. Gargett
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for every person interested in eating well.
Still reading the book but felt it was enough to leave a feedback. The book is very well written and documented, and though it speaks about a very controversial issue (i.e. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Alejandro
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