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The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals | [Michael Pollan]

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

"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. Today, as America confronts what can only be described as a national eating disorder, the omnivore's dilemma has returned with an atavistic vengeance.
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Publisher's Summary

The best-selling author of The Botany of Desire explores the ecology of eating to unveil why we consume what we consume in the 21st century.

"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

What the Critics Say

  • National Book Critics Circle 2006 Award Finalist, Nonfiction

"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)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Barb Silver City, NM, United States 01-03-11
    Barb Silver City, NM, United States 01-03-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved it"

    Living a more sustanable life and growing some of what we eat I connect with the message here. It is so hard in todays world to be connected to where our food comes from and that is part of the problem. Thanks Michael for your journey, humor, and connection to what we eat.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca Norco, CA, United States 10-09-10
    Rebecca Norco, CA, United States 10-09-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "WOOW-- life changing"

    This book is FANTASTCI-- Very well written, VERY interesting, and has changed how I see myself and my food in this world of ours. SCOTT Brick is wonderful reader as always. AAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ashley Carmichaels, PA, USA 03-11-10
    Ashley Carmichaels, PA, USA 03-11-10
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    "good insight!"

    Makes you really think about where your food is coming from! Loved taking these journeys with the author!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    gmrob 07-18-09
    gmrob 07-18-09 Member Since 2006

    gmrob

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    "Very interesting"

    The good: This book is facinating. I think it should be essential reading for anyone that eats meat in this country. "In defense of Food" is another book by this author that is (in my opinion) essential reading.

    The not so good: The narrator seems a bit overly dramatic. Also, I did not enjoy the last section when he hunted and foraged for his meal. He did too much philosophizing (is that a word??)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven 06-09-09
    Steven 06-09-09
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    "Excellent Read and Excellent Listen"

    Everyone needs to digest this material at least once. I am on my second listen and couldn't be happier. I also use the book as a reference since there is so much information here. Scott Brick does a great job here. This book needs this reading. Do not be distracted by those who can't get past the reading.

    This is a long listen granted, but there is so so much information here that you need to give it time to steep and sink in.

    The first chapters on the industrialized food chain and the corn farmers can get a little tedious but hold on and get through it because the chapters on Polyface farms is pure bliss and enjoyment. Outstanding writing and wonderful characters. Highly recommended!!! Also try In defense of food!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wesley Lincoln, NE, USA 09-03-08
    Wesley Lincoln, NE, USA 09-03-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not for everyone"

    This book is not for everyone...only people who eat. If you fall into this category than do yourself a favor and learn a little something about what you put in your mouth. This is by far the best book I've read (heard) on this subject and in my ever humble opinion should be required reading for everyone.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gilbert 08-05-08
    Gilbert 08-05-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Omnivore's Dilemma"

    This is a great read, some of the questions that nagged me since childhood were answered in a way not to bore, but to enlighten. The story of discovery is something that will entertain again and again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Holly Grantsville, UT, USA 05-29-08
    Holly Grantsville, UT, USA 05-29-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Eye Opening"

    This a great "read" for anyone who likes to know where their food comes from. The last quarter of the book (I feel) gets a little melodramatic and corny when starts talking about all of his feelings surrounding hunting. It's a little self-indulgent but the first three quarters are so great, I can forgive it.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    loix Pittsburgh, PA, United States 05-15-08
    loix Pittsburgh, PA, United States 05-15-08 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Thoroughly enjoyable"

    Mr. Pollan seems to have done his homework, and does a great job of weaving his findings into a thoroughly enjoyable (and for the most part, mouth-watering) account of four meals.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ralph Newberry, SC, USA 03-16-08
    Ralph Newberry, SC, USA 03-16-08 Member Since 2013
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    "Dry listen - but interesting"

    I found the information to be very interesting and the book was an easy one to get through. It seemed a little dry, but it really made me think and changed a lot of my perspective involving food.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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