Monday, October 09, 2006

The Omnivore's Dilemma

by Michael Pollan
Pollan, whose last book was the superb The Botany of Desire, writes this time about the origin of food. That's not to say the historical origins, although he does occasionally visit that topic. I'm talking about the origin of that thing you just ate. Where did it come from? What was it made of, and why? (And why, so often, CORN?) How much better is "organic" food? How did we become people who know so little about the food we eat? Our ignorance about food is something most of us have become very comfortable with. But this yawning gap in our everyday lives is something Pollan says we should pay attention to. To blindly put our trust in the various industries assembling our grocery items, or to blindly follow whatever diet trends are on the bestseller lists can have disasterous results, not just for our bodies but for our society at large. Pollan's prose is engaging, eye-opening, and warm, despite the sometimes unsettling subject matter.

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