"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)
Although, I had my eye on reading this book for some time I ended up having to read this book for class. Audiobook was a big time saver during my morning commute. Book was incredibly dense at times, for instance the segment on corn seemed to go on for hours. However, I enjoyed the segments on Polyface farm and the foraging/ hunting expeditions with Angelo. Also of note is the book has many key characters that are in an excellent documentary film called FOOD INC.
Superbly written, albeit a bit long-winded in places. The narrator does have some of the previously mentioned "whiney" attributes, however, his command of accentuation and short stops in long sentences more than makes up for any shortcomings.
This book should scare the heck out of us, I am disgusted with the typical fat American way of thinking when it comes to food: make it cheap, make the portions huge, and I really don't care about the consequences.
I can only say that I am overjoyed to live in Europe, where I have choices regarding purchasing food, and I am not forced to consume mass-produced, hormone and antibiotic-laden material.
The part on hunting and gathering, which comprises about a third of the book, could be a bit shorter but overall this is an excellent 'read' (listen).
Good news is that the actual information within this book is extremely interesting. The bad news is that it could be stated in about 1/10th the words. The book is a chatty expose of the author's well-meaning but somewhat self-centered preoccupations, thoughts, and feelings, in a trend that just gets worse and worse as the book proceeds. Juice to squeeze ratio in this sense, toward the end of the book as just about nil. As it ground to the end, I found myself saying over and over...I really don't care what you are turning over in your mind....just give me the facts. The narration is OK...not great and a bit pathetic in the various watered down accents (country, Italian, etc.)...would have just preferred a straight read, but not bad.
This book should have been about a third as long as it is. I bought the book because I thought it would be interesting and informative. Once you get past the history and processing of corn.......... (which really is all this book has that is even remotely intriguing) it is a politacal diatribe read by a nauseatingly whiny narrator that drags on and on for the last 10 hours of the book. It is so bad that at one point I swore if I ever heard the narrator say the word "Rumen" again I would hunt him down and force feed him the stupid book. I wish audible would take it back and credit me the wasted purchase.
The author of this excessively long book loves nothing more in this life than to hear his own voice. one sentence can often replace entire pages and one paragraph can often replace entire chapters. It's a wonderful idea for a book but much like reading the entire American tax code there are better ways to glean the few useful facts and interesting points presented in this book.
Pass your credits are better spent else where.
The Omnivore's Dilemma probably requires no explanation on my part. I believe it to be a central work of our time and place in history, as affluent Western lives become increasingly abstracted even from their most basic component. It's not perfect: some chapters drag on a bit long, of course, and I wish the discussion of Polyface Farm were a bit more rounded in its scope. Overall, however, The Omnivore's Dilemma details a fascinating inquiry into the way Americans eat, and why. The reading of the book is quite good overall, but I occasionally recoiled at the tone of smugness in the reader's speech, as other reviewers have pointed out. In reading the text in sections afterward, I derived a different tone from the one provided in audio. It isn't ubiquitous, and in the end it may only be my perception, but beware when sharing your views with the uninitiated!
I was very disappointed of the reading of this book, it was awful, I couldn't even get through the introduction. Please, buy the regular book instead!
Overall, this isn't a bad book. My only complaint is that it gets very long winded and I just about didn't finish because of it.
I'm merely halfway done with this revelatory, revealing, and REVOLUTIONARY book that at this point it is more palatable than tonight's dinner.
While it is historically poet, it discloses a mystifying history (and-not-so sugarcoated reality of today) in an appetizing, flavorsome, and mouthwatering way. This read flows like you were reading your own autobiography that divulged the core (or corn?) secrets and connections that you have with the "natural world", or at the very least, it can be consumed as an a la mode thriller.
Presented in a latently brilliant and multifaceted context, if it was not for the cholesterol clogging their brains and arteries ad nauseam, it would inspire the 'Dairy Queens' and 'Burger Kings' of this world to return to the unpromised fatlands of sustainable agriculture; and it would make them want to leave their royal fast food cults overnight, leaving their ___ Bell's and ___ Boxes behind so that an even bigger picture can embrace their fat ass and their assets!
No "chump change", "peanuts", "small potatoes" and "chickenfeed" here, a highly fruitful corny synopsis that is more about corn-u-topiaries of golden, genetically modified substance, than anything else: the refined fuel that both Americans and their gas tanks run on, whether they know it, and like it, or not.
I was looking forward to this book and relied on the other reviews posted here. Unfortunately, I can't agree with those reviews. It isn't the topic that annoyed me, it was the reader's voice and the way he ranted and raved and went on and on and on. After listening to three hours of it and seeing no change at all, I finally just deleted it and moved on. Spend your money elsewhere.
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