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Omnivore’s Dilemma

January 22nd, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals has been on my reading list for quite some time now and over the holidays I finally got around to ordering it – as my first foray into the world of the Kindle. Yes, my dad came through in a big way and allowed me to join the likes of Neal Ford, Stu Halloway and Scott Davis…but back to Pollan’s book. Omnivore’s Dilemma starts with a simple question: where does our food come from? Pollan follows a humble hamburger back to the corn fields of Iowa and ultimately the oil fields of the Middle East showing us how the lack of diversity on the modern farm isn’t doing the farmers, the environment or our midsections any favors. No, it seems modern agriculture is designed to benefit large multinational corporations more than anything else. Shocking. Some will shun meat after reading about its processing but me, well I like a good burger. However, we’ll be picking up some grass fed beef from Thousand Hills shortly…

Part two explores the organic movement from the amazing synergy of a true farm ecosystem consisting of cows, chickens, pigs and grass working together in concert to the, shall we say, less noble minded large scale operations that see a market to tap. We consume a fair amount of organic food but there’s no comparison to what we get all summer long from our local CSA, Foxtail Farm. Thanks to Pollan, I’m more skeptical of the organic label though I still think its ultimately for the better and I’m even more convinced that supporting local growers is an important step – we get better food that’s produced in a more sustainable way.

The last part of Omnivore’s Dilemma looks at hunting and gathering with Pollan crafting an entire meal that he scavenged. He creates an amazing meal that reminds us that food isn’t just about shoveling sustenance into our maws – it’s about connecting with those we love. And it really is stunning what you can find if you know where to look though I won’t be hunting mushrooms anytime soon…

Omnivore’s Dilemma isn’t a new book but it’s still relevant and will definitely change how you approach food. I have a different mindset at the grocery store now and I try to follow Pollan’s advice on diet: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Whether you do all your shopping at Whole Foods or the quickie stop, arm yourself with Pollan’s teaching; you’ll eat better and ultimately you’ll feel better.

Updated to add cover image:
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

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