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The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals Hardcover – April 11, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
I heard Michael Pollan speak on NPR about this book and that sparked my interest. He was railing against corn as he does in the first section of the book here: For instance, I had no idea we used so much fossil fuel to get corn to grow as much as it does. The book provides plenty of other interesting facts that most people don't know (or want to) about their food.
1) We feed cattle (the cattle we eat) corn. OK. Seems fine. But I never knew cows are not able to digest corn. We give them corn so the corn farmers -who are protected by subsidies and at the same time hurt by them - can get rid of all the excess corn we produce - (more of the excess goes into high fructose corn syrup which is used in coke and many other soft drinks). This sees company owned farms injecting their cattle with antibiotics so they can digest the corn. Not just to shed farmers' excess corn but to also:
a) Get the cow fatter in a shorter amount of time because . .
b) A cow on this diet could really only survive 150 days before the acidity of the corn eats away at the rumen (a special cow digestive organ FOR GRASS, not corn).
c) Also the pharmaceutical companies get big profits because they manufacture large amounts of antibiotics for these large mammals.
All this may lead to increase in fat content and other peculiarities in the meat we eat.
2) The amount of fossil fuel we use to grow food is ridiculous and helps keeps the Saudis happy.Read more ›
When my son was born two years ago, my thinking about food choices returned and has become an important part of my day-to-day consciousness.
When I first read about "Omnivore" online, I found the premise compelling. What exactly am I eating? Where does it come from? Why should I care? Exactly the kind of book that I'd been looking for, especially as I try to improve my own health and try to give my little guy the best start in life.
I bought the book as soon as it came out and found it to be highly enjoyable, yet almost mind-numbingly disenchanting. We all know about corn and cows and chickens and how the government subsidizes their production (mainly through corn subsidies). But Pollan has given me a completely new view of corn, its processed derivatives, and secondarily, has made me rethink my view of the farmers growing this stuff and the industries who buying it. There is so much wrong with this picture.
Corn, in the wrong hands, can be used for some terrible things, among them high fructose corn syrup (a major player in the obesity epidemic) and as feed for cows (who get sick when they eat it, requiring anti-biotics!). I can't compartmentalize anymore, just because meat tastes good. As Pollan clearly outlines, there is a very selfish reason why the beef industry doesn't want us to see inside a slaughter house.Read more ›
I will add up front, that one of the two things that most irritated me about this book was that in the mid-1980s, Margaret Visser, a brilliant food writer, wrote a very similar book, _Much Depends on Dinner_. Neither the book nor the author were particularly obscure - the book won several awards, and Visser went on to write another one about table manners (great book, btw, and highly recommended), and the books were published by Pollan's own publisher. And yet, Pollan's book does not cite or acknowledge the book, even though many of the chapters (those on chicken and corn especially) were very similar in their approach and analysis. Someone, either Pollan in his research (which, I think, was otherwise good), or his editor missed something - because the concept of eating a meal and being outraged by the history of its context is not his.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I chose this book for an English class that a close friend of mine recommended to me. She said this book would be a great "wake-up call" for me, as I tend to always spend... Read morePublished 1 day ago by M. Murray
This is a great read for anyone who is into food. I have read a lot of books on food and this seams to be the one that anchors them all. Read morePublished 5 days ago by BOT addict
Love books like this. I read it twice. Of course now, it's a little outdated but when it first came out it was mindblowingPublished 7 days ago by Xtina
There's a tone to most of the writing in this book that's condescending and, frankly, boring. This is especially noticeable in the introduction, part 1, and part 3 of the book... Read morePublished 7 days ago by V. R. Roadifer
This book takes a non judgemental look at food and the food industry. Read this book to be better informed about where our food comes from, what are the benefits and costs and... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Neil Bourne
he says the alcohol in beer is from corn. What else do I need to say. it seems like Greenpeace propaganda with a lot of misinformation.Published 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
This should be required reading in schools in my opinion. Our culture has become too separated from the earth we live on, depend on, and what it means to our health. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Steve S.
Ever the masterful storyteller/journalist, Michael gives us a mellifluous, easily digestible account of his personal journey across the American food landscape. Read morePublished 21 days ago by pascal