Suggested Reading: The Omnivore's Dilemma, A Natural History of Four Meals

November 12, 2012

The Omnivore’s dilemma is not some sort of boring food manifesto written by some left-wing intellectual in which the author rambles about the “evil” food industry which poisons all our meals, and makes us sick.
It’s something more, much more.
In a way, it is a kind of food manifesto, and Michael Pollan is indeed an intellectual (he’s a professor at UC Berkeley), and most probably he’s also left-wing, but the book doesn’t feel any of these things while you flip through the pages.
Instead, it’s a tantalizing journey up and down the food chain, that will probably change forever the way you’ll decide which foods to put in your mouth. Eggs, meat, dairy, even organic produce will never look the same to your eyes.
You’ll learn a great deal on food, and that’s precisely why you should read this book.

In The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Pollan is on a mission: to find out more about what we eat. Starting directly from the field and the farm, all the way down to our plates.
His approach is not one of an activist, I would rather define it as one of a naturalist.
He sets out to corn fields and natural farms, goes hunting and foraging, all in the name of coming to terms with where food really comes from in today’s America. Taking a closer look at what the ramifications are for the eaters, the eaten, the environment, and the economy.
The results are astonishing, to say the least, and very instructing.
You’ll discover, for instance, that there’s a common denominator between the widespread alcoholism in America in the 19th century, and the obesity plague that we are experiencing nowadays: the agricultural excesses of corn.
Not to mention, you’ll have to “face” the terror that goes on in the slaughterhouses: something that goes way beyond the screenplay of the scariest horror movie.
However, Pollan’s work doesn’t merely stop at evidencing the flaws of the industrial food system, but evidences on how thoughtless consumers have become when it comes to feeding themselves.
More than anything else, The Omnivore’s Dilemma is a plea for us to stop and think for a moment about what we put in our mouths. Because it’s also partially our fault if the food industry has become what it is today.
This also means that we, as consumers, we have the power to change this, just by making different choices when shopping, and consequently influence that flawed production system with which we have to deal today.
Even if you aren’t ready to question your views on food, and/or if you’re afraid of what you might learn you should read The Omnivore’s dilemma.
You’ll learn a lot of information, and at times it will be a bit painful: truth sometimes hurts. But you’ll be more informed, and become a much more thoughtful consumer.

The Iron You


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