"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 best-selling author Michael Pollan's brilliant and eye-opening exploration of these little-known but vitally important dimensions of eating in America.
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?"
©2006 Michael Pollan; (P)2006 Penguin Audio
"Remarkably clearheaded book....A fascinating journey up and down the food chain." (Publishers Weekly)
"His supermeticulous reporting is the book's strength - you're not likely to get a better explanation of where your food comes from....In an uncommonly good year for American food writing, this is a book that stands out." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Completely charming." (Nora Ephron)
However, I'd encourage others to listen to the abridged version. I listened to this on the "fast" version on my Ipod and it still drug on. Very interesting and entertaining though. Just long.
This book has three distinct parts, only one of which you should listen to: the introduction, the beginning 2/3, and the last 1/3. The introduction is insufferably boring, meandering, repetitive and generally uninteresting. The middle 2/3 are very interesting, well-researched, and quite engrossing. Listen to that twice. The last 1/3 (I believe it is the last "Part" of the four parts) is monotonous, and feels like filler tacked on to give the book sufficient heft. Once he starts discussing his hunting experience (you might enjoy the discussion of the vegetarian movement), it just drags on and on.
The reading is among the better for audiobooks; it is enunciated and well-paced for the material.
I learned things about what we eat that I'm not so sure I wanted to know. It makes me consider becoming a vegitarian. But the way the information is presented is masterful. But not only was the information very interesting, the way it was read was really top notch. This is my favorite audio book so far.
The one word title describes this book. After listening to it, I have altered my choices of food for political, moral, and health reasons.
Listen to it and learn where your food comes from.
I have to admit that our "dilemma" has been made that much more difficult with this newest Michael Pollan masterpiece! It is helplessly cliche yet true that igorance is bliss. I have three small children and can't help but be concerned about what is being put into their bodies. We have always been health concious yet after reading this book I feel that our efforts have been pathetically feeble. Yet I feel a new understanding and appreciation for those farmers who don't buy into the industrial complex just to make a buck (and what a few "bucks" you will make if you did). I had an economics professor tell us once that the largest welfare recipients in this country are farmers. Pollan just helps confirm and expound as to why! An ancient philosopher once said that "Knowledge is power as long as we act on it." This book, along with "fastfood nation" and the film "supersize me", is a major kick in the pants to act.
Pollan does an excellent job of investigating the current state of our food system. The historical and scientific background information is especially valuable. I found the book easy to listen to and fascinating.
My only minor quibble is with how much of a fan Pollan clearly is of his new friends, the sustainable farmers and foragers. He loses a small amount of credibility by becoming so personally involved. Some of this personal involvement adds pleasant levity to the title, as well, so it's not a major problem.
I have talked about this book to numerous friend's and have really been moved by what it said. This is not just a book, but a piece of our culture. I think it should be required reading.
If you made it to this the 42nd review, I would like to share a quick testamony. How we handle the land that feeds us is not a small matter. This book is a tome, a large and deeply researched piece, not to be confused with entertainment. After working in the health food industry and watching, first hand, much of what this book has to tell, I cannot put words on how grateful I am this information has been gathered and presented.
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