Thursday, May 31, 2007

[Book Review] THE OMNIVORE'S DILEMMA by Michael Pollan


Philip Williams reviews THE OMNIVORE'S DILEMMA: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan.

"What shall we have for dinner?" This is the seemingly simple question Michael Pollan explores in The Omnivore's Dilemma. Today, many people have no idea where their food comes from, how it is grown, how it is distributed and how it is processed. They have no idea of the impact that industrial food giants like Conagra and Archer Daniel Midland have on what we eat or how these companies have created what Pollan calls an "industrialized food chain" dependent on petroleum-based fertilizer and pesticides. The industrialized food chain is also dependent on the pharmaceutical industry for the antibiotics needed to keep alive animals raised on "factory farms" in cruel and inhumane ways. Pollan explores the industrialized food industry in his book, the organic food industry (which in many ways is not as different from the industrialized food industry as many might think), food produced on small farms using what Pollan calls "sustainable agriculture," and food obtained through traditional hunting and gathering methods. The Omnivore's Dilemma is thought-provoking to say the least and it certainly makes the reader aware of the health, environmental, and moral considerations that consumers now face when they decide what to eat.

Philip Wiliams, Cordova Branch Library

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