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I first must give my disclaimer here, that I am obsessed with Michael Pollan. Not only does he write about the food industry, something about which I am passionate, but he does it in a non-textbook like way. He's entertaining, while also conveying important details about the subject matter.
That being said, I loved The Omnivore's Dilemma. Basically throughout the book, Pollan decides to follow the lifeline of four different meals, starting with a McDonald's meal, going through two different types of organic meals, and ending with a "hunter/gatherer" kind of situation where he forages for his own meals. Obviously each of these meals has its drawbacks (some more than others...ahem McDonald's), but he describes in detail the processes through which each meal goes to plop down on our tables at night.
Far and away the most important concept that I took from the book was the idea of industrial organics. I am a big fan of organics myself, and try my best to eat as wholly and nutritiously as I can afford. Pollan makes a strong case, however, that industrial organics are far more similar to their industrial counterparts and far removed from the original hippy idea of saving the world through organic farming. To me, this was a mind blowing concept, because the very idea of organic (and the packaging and advertising of organic manufacturers) conjure up the notion of a small, family farm in middle America producing food similar to my grandmother's garden in her backyard. This often could not be further from the truth, and Pollan does a thorough job of exploring this case.
By the very nature of the fact that Pollan is writing a book about the subject, you can correctly surmise that he is not a supporter of the industrial processed foods that restaurants such as McDonald's produce. However, he does raise some very interesting and thought provoking questions about what our alternatives are, and where we went wrong in coming to the place we are today with the food industry. All in all, Pollan's book was thought provoking and informative. I wouldn't say that it covers all the bases of the problems with the industrial processing of foods, but it does a good job of giving a general overview to someone who is just beginning to dip their toes into the subject matter.
If you would like to read the first chapter of The Omnivore's Dilemma for free, head on over to Michael Pollan's page. The chapter is located underneath the description of the book.
I'm reading this: Book Review: The Omnivore's DilemmaTweet this! Posted by Lauren on Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Topics book reviews