Monday, June 2, 2008

You Are What You Eat

On "The Omnivore's Dilemma", by Michael Pollan

Okay, I know this book's been out awhile and is old news now, but it wasn't old news to me. I was completely absorbed in the bizarre world of U.S. food production and couldn't put the book down.

Author Pollan describes in detail the great agricultural megalopolous of the midwest, which produces prodigious amounts of corn, but not the kind we eat from the cob! Instead we eat it in every processed product we consume. U.S. Americans have more corn in their systems than do the Mexicans whose diets are directly based on maize.

The book starts out with impact, exploring corn as a commodity and following a calf from birth through the feedlot and to slaughter. Here we find out more than we want to know about the animals we consume.

The second section educates us about various permutations of organic farms and how they operate. I found this portion helpful in understanding the significance of such characteristics as cage-free, antibiotic-free, omega 3 enriched, and vegetarian fed when choosing eggs. We also see how a pure organic farm sustains itself though inter-related natural cycles.

Although the final section on preparing a meal entirely from ingredients hunted, foraged or home grown is less compelling, this is a terrific book. It's a great start to begin understanding from whence our food comes and what on earth is in it. Highly recommended.

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