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The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural…
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The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Michael Pollan

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9,746253296 (4.24)406
Member:huggingthecoast
Title:The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
Authors:Michael Pollan
Info:Penguin (2007), Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan (2006)

  1. 124
    Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver (heidialice, lorax)
    lorax: More thoughtful and personal than Omnivore's Dilemma, in many ways it picks up where Pollan leaves off.
  2. 80
    In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan (marzipanz, chrisharpe)
    chrisharpe: Less of a narrative than "The Omnivore's Dilemma", "In Defense of Food" is a succinct argument for considering what we eat, and includes potted advice for consumers who prefer a set of simple rules for eating. As the title suggests, this is perhaps the better analysis of the way the food industry affects the eater and what we can do about it.… (more)
  3. 40
    Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating by Jane Goodall (thebooky)
  4. 20
    Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck (night_sky)
  5. 21
    Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer (crazybatcow)
    crazybatcow: Very similar perspective, though Pollan focuses more on the "process" of getting "food" to the table.
  6. 21
    In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed (Plus) by Carl Honore (Musecologist)
  7. 10
    The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability by Lierre Keith (owen1218)
  8. 00
    The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table by Tracie McMillan (meggyweg, meggyweg)
  9. 00
    American Terroir: Savoring the Flavors of Our Woods, Waters, and Fields by Rowan Jacobsen (DetailMuse)
  10. 11
    Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You're Eating by Jeffrey M. Smith (piononus)
  11. 01
    Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals by Karen Dawn (SqueakyChu)
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» See also 406 mentions

English (251)  Spanish (1)  All languages (252)
Showing 1-5 of 251 (next | show all)
The premise of this book, according to its author, springs from a fundamental question "What shall we have for dinner" - ostensibly simple enough but today becoming increasingly a dilemma. In exploring how and why it's become so complicated, Michael Pollan in his best forensic style, sets out on an in-depth exploration of our three major food chains - industrial, organic and hunter-gatherer.

As he so rightly points out, today more than ever we're confronted by a "bewildering and treacherous food landscape". If we don't make the right choices, we risk compromising our health and that of our children, but more, the very future of sustainable life. In other words, we can't go on doing what we're doing, the system won't hold up. Industrial agriculture, the main source of the food we eat, is steadily devouring existing energy resources as well as abusing the logic of nature.

He covers a huge amount of ground in this book. While the omnivore's dilemma itself may be fairly succinctly defined, (for humans who are designed to eat pretty much anything, in a world where they can eat pretty much anything, what are the implications of our food choices, morally, economically, environmentally and politically) the answers necessarily involve a vast field of research.

In Pollan's case, as is his habit, much of this is first-hand. He's prepared to educate himself by getting his hands dirty in all sorts of expected and unexpected ways (chicken killing for example). He's a writer who goes to extreme lengths to experience and understand the issues he writes about, which makes his work compelling. Even if you don't agree with him or baulk at some of his statements, you have to acknowledge that he's worked damn hard to investigate every nuance of the questions he's addressing.

Where he and I parted company was in the chapter on hunting, where as part of his foraging exploration, he determines to hunt and shoot a pig and involve himself in its gutting. He's honest enough to admit the ambivalence he feels looking at the subsequent photo taken of him standing next to his "kill". The self-glorification of the hunter sits uncomfortably with the consciousness that he's slaughtered a defenceless creature all in the name of "sport" (or in his case in the name of literary research perhaps) but certainly not because it was necessary for anyone's survival.

His investigations involve him eating different types of meals at different times - the two most polarised being a takeaway McDonalds eaten in the car, and the meal he prepares at the conclusion of the book using food that's been hunted, gathered, bred, grown, or otherwise produced in ways in which he's been intimately involved as a witness or co-producer.

In comparing these meals, which he describes as being "at the far extreme ends of the spectrum of human eating", he essentially sums up what all this has been about. In doing so, he highlights something we should all be aware of. How we eat represents the "different ways we have to engage the world that sustains us." One way is based on knowledge and understanding, while the other is based on ignorance, an ignorance fostered by the industrial food system and one in which we can choose to remain, or not. Whether that ignorance is wilful or not, it does mean we're complicit in whatever actions are carried out to get the food we eat from its origins, plant or animal based, to our tables.

Anyone who cares about what they eat, where it comes from, how it's produced and what the impacts of those processes are, needs to read this book. It doesn't have all the answers, but it certainly raises plenty of crucial questions. ( )
  Anne_Green | Jul 28, 2014 |
Hmm...Let's begin by saying how nervous I was to begin reading this. After Fast Food Nation, I decided I needed to give up meat, and was terrified at what this book would make me 'give up' next. (I admit to being particularly influenced by emotional and cognitive arguments...it's what I do.)

The omnivore's dilemma--from what I gather--is: What do I eat? Since, as an omnivor, I can eat ust about anything...what *should* I eat? Stay away from? This book was richer and easier to read than FFN was, and I'll admit to being somewhat pleased I was already a vegetarian before reading this book, I definitely got a wake up call. Simply giving up meat doesn't mean that I am not supporting the industrial food business...

One thing about this book, keeping it from a higher rating, however, is the piece about "What can I do?" I didn't get any advice (that I could decode) from Pollan. Should I eat meat? Eat organic? Eat local? What if I can't find local? The end of FFN, I'm told that I don't have to give up meat or fast food, just that I need to demand from fast food places (especially McDonalds) that they do something to improve the lives of the people supporting the meat industry. Pollan offered nothing, just his experiences. Maybe, as the reader I am supposed to make my own meaning...but several times throughout the book I was left feeling helpless without a clue about what I should or could do.

( )
1 vote csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
Hmm...Let's begin by saying how nervous I was to begin reading this. After Fast Food Nation, I decided I needed to give up meat, and was terrified at what this book would make me 'give up' next. (I admit to being particularly influenced by emotional and cognitive arguments...it's what I do.)

The omnivore's dilemma--from what I gather--is: What do I eat? Since, as an omnivor, I can eat ust about anything...what *should* I eat? Stay away from? This book was richer and easier to read than FFN was, and I'll admit to being somewhat pleased I was already a vegetarian before reading this book, I definitely got a wake up call. Simply giving up meat doesn't mean that I am not supporting the industrial food business...

One thing about this book, keeping it from a higher rating, however, is the piece about "What can I do?" I didn't get any advice (that I could decode) from Pollan. Should I eat meat? Eat organic? Eat local? What if I can't find local? The end of FFN, I'm told that I don't have to give up meat or fast food, just that I need to demand from fast food places (especially McDonalds) that they do something to improve the lives of the people supporting the meat industry. Pollan offered nothing, just his experiences. Maybe, as the reader I am supposed to make my own meaning...but several times throughout the book I was left feeling helpless without a clue about what I should or could do.

( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
Though not a quick read, this book is an excellent way to consider your food choices. What does it mean to buy from McDonald's, Whole Foods, or a CSA? Pollan does an excellent job following our food back to the source and explaining all the processes in between. This is a potentially eye-opening book, and is a good read for everyone. ( )
  t1bnotown | Jun 26, 2014 |
No pun intended, but I need time to digest this book. Not time to digest what the author conveys, but what this means to me personally.

On another hand, yeah, I wanted in on that dinner the author prepares at the end of the book ... ( )
1 vote beebowallace | Apr 2, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 251 (next | show all)
But for Pollan, the final outcome is less important than the meal's journey from the soil to the plate. His supermeticulous reporting is the book's strength — you're not likely to get a better explanation of exactly where your food comes from.
added by carport | editNew York Times, David Kamp (Apr 23, 2006)
 
Wonderful Book!
 

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Pollan, Michaelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haggar, DarrenCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143038583, Paperback)

One of the New York Times Book Review's Ten Best Books of the Year

Winner of the James Beard Award

Author of #1 New York Times Bestsellers In Defense of Food and Food Rules


Today, buffeted by one food fad after another, America is suffering from what can only be described as a national eating disorder. Will it be fast food tonight, or something organic? Or perhaps something we grew ourselves? The question of what to have for dinner has confronted us since man discovered fire. But as Michael Pollan explains in this revolutionary book, how we answer it now, as the dawn of the twenty-first century, may determine our survival as a species. Packed with profound surprises, The Omnivore's Dilemma is changing the way Americans thing about the politics, perils, and pleasures of eating.

Coming from The Penguin Press in 2013, Michael Pollan’s newest book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation--the story of our most trusted food expert’s culinary education 

"Thoughtful, engrossing ... You're not likely to get a better explanation of exactly where your food comes from."
-The New York Times Book Review

"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

"Outstanding... a wide-ranging invitation to think through the moral ramifications of our eating habits."
--The New Yorker

"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


 

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:15 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Today, buffeted by one food fad after another, America is suffering from what can only be described as a national eating disorder. Will it be fast food tonight, or something organic? Or perhaps something we grew ourselves? The question of what to have for dinner has confronted us since man discovered fire. But as Michael Pollan explains in this revolutionary book, how we answer it now, at the dawn of the twenty-first century may determine our survival as a species.--From publisher description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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