The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan

Into the Wild

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals Read Online Free - What should we have for dinner?" To one degree or another this simple question assails any creature faced with a wide choice of things to eat. Anthropologists call it the omnivore's dilemma. Choosing from among the countless potential foods nature offers, humans have had to learn what is safe, and what isn't—which mushrooms should be avoided, for example, and which berries we can enjoy. Today, as America confronts what can only be described as a national eating disorder, the omnivore's dilemma has returned with an atavistic vengeance. The cornucopia of the modern American supermarket and fast-food outlet has thrown us back on a bewildering landscape where we once again have to worry about which of those tasty-looking morsels might kill us. At the same time we're realizing that our food choices also have profound implications for the health of our environment. The Omnivore's Dilemma is bestselling author Michael Pollan's brilliant and eye-opening exploration of these little-known but vitally important dimensions of eating in America.

Pollan has divided The Omnivore's Dilemma into three parts, one for each of the food chains that sustain us: industrialized food, alternative or "organic" food, and food people obtain by dint of their own hunting, gathering, or gardening. Pollan follows each food chain literally from the ground up to the table, emphasizing our dynamic coevolutionary relationship with the species we depend on. He concludes each section by sitting down to a meal—at McDonald's, at home with his family sharing a dinner from Whole Foods, and in a revolutionary "beyond organic" farm in Virginia. For each meal he traces the provenance of everything consumed, revealing the hidden components we unwittingly ingest and explaining how our taste for particular foods reflects our environmental and biological inheritance.

We are indeed what we eat-and what we eat remakes the world. A society of voracious and increasingly confused omnivores, we are just beginning to recognize the profound consequences of the simplest everyday food choices, both for ourselves and for the natural world. The Omnivore's Dilemma is a long-overdue book and one that will become known for bringing a completely fresh perspective to a question as ordinary and yet momentous as What shall we have for dinner?

A few facts and figures from The Omnivore's Dilemma:
Of the 38 ingredients it takes to make a McNugget, there are at least 13 that are derived from corn. 45 different menu items at Mcdonald’s are made from corn. One in every three American children eats fast food every day. One in every five American meals today is eaten in the car. The food industry burns nearly a fifth of all the petroleum consumed in the United States—more than we burn with our cars and more than any other industry consumes. It takes ten calories of fossil fuel energy to deliver one calorie of food energy to an American plate. A single strawberry contains about five calories. To get that strawberry from a field in California to a plate on the east coast requires 435 calories of energy. Industrial fertilizer and industrial pesticides both owe their existence to the conversion of the World War II munitions industry to civilian uses—nerve gases became pesticides, and ammonium nitrate explosives became nitrogen fertilizers. ...

Title : The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 1594200823
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 451 pages


Anita rated it ★★★★★

February 18, 2008

Michael Pollan is a journalist, and an omnivore, curious about where the food he puts in his mouth comes from. In the book he follows four meals from the very beginning of the food chain to his plate. What he finds is that the food we put in our mouths turns out to be a big decision- a moral, pol...

Lisa rated it ★★★☆☆

April 12, 2017

I was resistant to reading this book because I’m not an omnivore, and also I thought that Pollan’s book The Botany of Desire was brilliant and I suspected I would not feel as fond of this one, which is certainly true. He does write well, but I didn’t find that this book had the eloquence or elega...

Ryan rated it ★★★★★

September 08, 2017

I liked Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma so much that I searched goodreads reviews for reasons not to like it. Let me explain. Whenever a really influential book like this comes out, there's a pretty reliable pattern that follows. There's the newspaper "toast of the town" effect, followed by...

Imogen rated it ★★☆☆☆

August 08, 2010

Wow, it seems like a lot of people didn't notice that this kinda sucked! Weird. It read to me like he wrote The Botany of Desire, decided that that framework- a loose structure in which he can just talk alternately interesting and totally self-serving shit for a whole book- and figured he'd give...

Sara rated it ★★★★★

April 22, 2015

Man, this book is great. The best book I read last year, easily. Mushrooms, chicken slaughter, sustainability, french fries, soul-searching questions, it's all here. Just read it already. Okay, if that didn't sell you, here's more info, from the review I wrote for my farm community (Stearns Farm,...

Trevor rated it ★★★★☆

November 07, 2008

I love food. I really love food. I believe it is one of the most fascinating cultural facts in our lives. I particularly love food that is taken as meals and then the words that gather about meals – not least that most beautiful word ‘sharing’. Because food is never better than when it is shared...

Laura rated it ★★☆☆☆

December 13, 2007

He makes some good points but in the end, it smacks of well-off white man over simplifying an incredibly complex issue. What the book has going for it is that it's a best seller, especially to the faux-liberal, over educated set and it's at least making them THINK about where their food is coming...

Patrick rated it ★★★★★

March 30, 2007

I thoroughly enjoyed The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. He's been one of my favorite writers, ever since I read A Place of My Own, some years ago. And I stumble across stories by him in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, often quite by accident, and then look at the byline to see who this...

Jason rated it ★★★★★

July 05, 2016

After reading books like these, I'm not sure what to eat anymore. Michael Pollan, a sort of food journalist, doesn't always give you the kind of clear-cut answers you'd like if you're reading books like this in order to learn what's healthy for your body and what's not. However, here are two impo...

Eric_W rated it ★★★★☆

May 23, 2010

Update 5/23/2010 Terrific piece by Michael Pollan in the NYRB June 10, 2010, "The Food Movement, Rising" in which he reviews five books: Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal, Terra Madre: Forging a New Global Network of Sustainable Food Communities, All You Can Eat: How Hungry is America?, The Tast...

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