Author(s): Michael Pollan
Size: 6.34 MB
Size: 6.34 MB
A national bestseller that has changed the way readers view the ecology of eating, this revolutionary book by award winner Michael Pollan asks the seemingly simple question: What should we have for dinner? Tracing from source to table each of the food chains that sustain us--whether industrial or organic, alternative or processed--he develops a portrait of the American way of eating.
The result is a sweeping, surprising exploration of the hungers that have shaped our evolution, and of the profound implications our food choices have for the health of our species and the future of our planet.
Pollan has divided The Omnivore's Dilemma into three parts, one for each of the food chains that sustain us: industrialized food, alternative or "organic" food, and food people obtain by dint of their own hunting, gathering, or gardening. Pollan follows each food chain literally from the ground up to the table, emphasizing our dynamic coevolutionary relationship with the species we depend on. He concludes each section by sitting down to a meal - at McDonald's, at home with his family sharing a dinner from Whole Foods, and in a revolutionary "beyond organic" farm in Virginia. For each meal he traces the provenance of everything consumed, revealing the hidden components we unwittingly ingest and explaining how our taste for particular foods reflects our environmental and biological inheritance.
We are indeed what we eat-and what we eat remakes the world. A society of voracious and increasingly confused omnivores, we are just beginning to recognize the profound consequences of the simplest everyday food choices, both for ourselves and for the natural world. The Omnivore's Dilemma is a long-overdue book and one that will become known for bringing a completely fresh perspective to a question as ordinary and yet momentous as What shall we have for dinner?
A few facts and figures from The Omnivore's Dilemma:
- Of the 38 ingredients it takes to make a McNugget, there are at least 13 that are derived from corn. 45 different menu items at Mcdonald’s are made from corn.
- One in every three American children eats fast food every day.
- One in every five American meals today is eaten in the car.
- The food industry burns nearly a fifth of all the petroleum consumed in the United States - more than we burn with our cars and more than any other industry consumes.
- It takes ten calories of fossil fuel energy to deliver one calorie of food energy to an American plate.
- A single strawberry contains about five calories. To get that strawberry from a field in California to a plate on the east coast requires 435 calories of energy.
- Industrial fertilizer and industrial pesticides both owe their existence to the conversion of the World War II munitions industry to civilian uses - nerve gases became pesticides, and ammonium nitrate explosives became nitrogen fertilizers.
An eater's manifesto... [Pollan's] cause is just, his thinking is clear, and his writing is compelling. Be careful of your dinner!
--The Washington Post
Thoughtful, engrossing... You're not likely to get a better explanation of exactly where your food comes from.
--The New York Times Book Review
Michael Pollan has perfected a tone-one of gleeful irony and barely suppressed outrage-and a way of inserting himself into a narrative so that a subject comes alive through what he's feeling and thinking. He is a master at drawing back to reveal the greater issues.
--Los Angeles Times
If you ever thought 'what's for dinner' was a simple question, you'll change your mind after reading Pollan's searing indictment of today's food industry-and his glimpse of some inspiring alternatives.... I just loved this book so much I didn't want it to end.
--The Seattle Times
About the Author:
Michael Pollan is the author of five books: Second Nature, A Place of My Own, The Botany of Desire, which received the Borders Original Voices Award for the best nonfiction work of 2001 and was recognized as a best book of the year by the American Booksellers Association and Amazon, and the national bestellers, The Omnivore's Dilemma, and In Defense of Food.
A longtime contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine, Pollan is also the Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley. His writing on food and agriculture has won numerous awards, including the Reuters/World Conservation Union Global Award in Environmental Journalism, the James Beard Award, and the Genesis Award from the American Humane Association.
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