- Hardcover: 711 pages
- Publisher: Thorndike Press; Lrg edition (4 Oct. 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 078628952X
- ISBN-13: 978-0786289523
- Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 14.8 x 3.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,130,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (Thorndike Nonfiction) Hardcover – Large Print, 4 Oct 2006
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What should you eat? Pollan addresses that fundamental question with great wit and intelligence' -- Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation
Youre not likely to get a better explanation of exactly where your food comes from .brimming with ideas -- New York Times --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
The startling truth behind the food we consume in the twenty-first century --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
a must read! important and i recommend to everyone! start knowing and thinking of where your food comes from. Michael Pollan is now my hero!Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Everyone should read this book. Well structured and opens your eyes to a lot of the methods used to put food on your table, even for someone like me who spends a lot of time on... Read morePublished 5 months ago by DM
A brilliant book and a must read for anyone who eats and cares where their food comes from, or for those that don't care because they might after reading this! Read morePublished 6 months ago by Feeb
this is my second copy; have no idea who I lent the last one to, but it's a thought provoking read.Published 11 months ago by Mrs AJ Comber
To say "I love it" is weird. However, I dare anyone to not care about the health of the land, animals for food and the planet after reading this book.Published 13 months ago by Lettice
Very well written, and not trying to convert you to vegetarianism, just trying to encourage an attitude of being concerned about the well being of the ecology that supplies our... Read morePublished 15 months ago by StuMcp