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The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
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"Outstanding . . . a wide-ranging invitation to think through the moral ramifications of our eating habits." —The New Yorker
One of the New York Times Book Review's Ten Best Books of the Year and Winner of the James Beard Award
Author of This is Your Mind on Plants, How to Change Your Mind and the #1 New York Times Bestseller In Defense of Food and Food Rules

What should we have for dinner? Ten years ago, Michael Pollan confronted us with this seemingly simple question and, with The Omnivore’s Dilemma, his brilliant and eye-opening exploration of our food choices, demonstrated that how we answer it today may determine not only our health but our survival as a species. In the years since, Pollan’s revolutionary examination has changed the way Americans think about food. Bringing wide attention to the little-known but vitally important dimensions of food and agriculture in America, Pollan launched a national conversation about what we eat and the profound consequences that even the simplest everyday food choices have on both ourselves and the natural world. Ten years later, The Omnivore’s Dilemma continues to transform the way Americans think about the politics, perils, and pleasures of eating.

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Street Date:
04/11/2006
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781101147177
ASIN:
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APA Citation (style guide)

Michael Pollan. (2006). The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Michael Pollan. 2006. The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. Penguin Publishing Group.

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Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. Penguin Publishing Group, 2006.

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Michael Pollan. The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. Penguin Publishing Group, 2006.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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fullDescription
"Outstanding . . . a wide-ranging invitation to think through the moral ramifications of our eating habits." —The New Yorker
One of the New York Times Book Review's Ten Best Books of the Year and Winner of the James Beard Award
Author of This is Your Mind on Plants, How to Change Your Mind and the #1 New York Times Bestseller In Defense of Food and Food Rules

What should we have for dinner? Ten years ago, Michael Pollan confronted us with this seemingly simple question and, with The Omnivore’s Dilemma, his brilliant and eye-opening exploration of our food choices, demonstrated that how we answer it today may determine not only our health but our survival as a species. In the years since, Pollan’s revolutionary examination has changed the way Americans think about food. Bringing wide attention to the little-known but vitally important dimensions of food and agriculture in America, Pollan launched a national conversation about what we eat and the profound consequences that even the simplest everyday food choices have on both ourselves and the natural world. Ten years later, The Omnivore’s Dilemma continues to transform the way Americans think about the politics, perils, and pleasures of eating.
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      • value: Grade 5
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reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        February 20, 2006


        Reviewed by Pamela Kaufman

        Pollan (The Botany of Desire
        ) examines what he calls "our national eating disorder" (the Atkins craze, the precipitous rise in obesity) in this remarkably clearheaded book. It's a fascinating journey up and down the food chain, one that might change the way you read the label on a frozen dinner, dig into a steak or decide whether to buy organic eggs. You'll certainly never look at a Chicken McNugget the same way again.
        Pollan approaches his mission not as an activist but as a naturalist: "The way we eat represents our most profound engagement with the natural world." All food, he points out, originates with plants, animals and fungi. "ven the deathless Twinkie is constructed out of... well, precisely what
        I don't know offhand, but ultimately some sort of formerly living creature, i.e., a species
        . We haven't yet begun to synthesize our foods from petroleum, at least not directly."
        Pollan's narrative strategy is simple: he traces four meals back to their ur-species. He starts with a McDonald's lunch, which he and his family gobble up in their car. Surprise: the origin of this meal is a cornfield in Iowa. Corn feeds the steer that turns into the burgers, becomes the oil that cooks the fries and the syrup that sweetens the shakes and the sodas, and makes up 13 of the 38 ingredients (yikes) in the Chicken McNuggets.
        Indeed, one of the many eye-openers in the book is the prevalence of corn in the American diet; of the 45,000 items in a supermarket, more than a quarter contain corn. Pollan meditates on the freakishly protean nature of the corn plant and looks at how the food industry has exploited it, to the detriment of everyone from farmers to fat-and-getting-fatter Americans. Besides Stephen King, few other writers have made a corn field seem so sinister.
        Later, Pollan prepares a dinner with items from Whole Foods, investigating the flaws in the world of "big organic"; cooks a meal with ingredients from a small, utopian Virginia farm; and assembles a feast from things he's foraged and hunted.
        This may sound earnest, but Pollan isn't preachy: he's too thoughtful a writer, and too dogged a researcher, to let ideology take over. He's also funny and adventurous. He bounces around on an old International Harvester tractor, gets down on his belly to examine a pasture from a cow's-eye view, shoots a wild pig and otherwise throws himself into the making of his meals.
        I'm not convinced I'd want to go hunting with Pollan, but I'm sure I'd enjoy having dinner with him. Just as long as we could eat at a table, not in a Toyota. (Apr.)

        Pamela Kaufman is executive editor at
        Food & Wine magazine.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        April 15, 2006
        Pollan (journalism, Univ. of California, Berkeley; " The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World") defines the Omnivore's Dilemma as the confusing maze of choices facing Americans trying to eat healthfully in a society that he calls -notably unhealthy. - He seeks answers to this dilemma by taking readers through the industrial, organic, and hunter-gatherer stages of the food chain. Focusing on corn as the keystone plant in the industrial stage, Pollan describes its role in feeding cattle and in food processing as well as its ultimate destination in the products we consume at fast-food restaurants. The organic, or pastoral, stage offers a pure and chemical-free eating environment for animals and humans. In the hunter-gatherer stage, omnivores hunt animals and gather the plant foods that comprise all or part of their diets. Pollan explains how a framework of environmental, biological, and cultural factors determines what and how we eat. Although a bit long and sometimes redundant, this folksy narrative provides a wealth of information about agriculture, the natural world, and human desires. Recommended for all omnivores. [See Prepub Alert, "LJ" 12/05.]" -Irwin Weintraub, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., New York"

        Copyright 2006 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        April 1, 2006
        Humans were clearly designed to eat all manner of meats, vegetables, fruits, and grains. But, as Pollan points out, America's farmers have succeeded so wildly that today's fundamental agricultural issue has become how to deal sensibly with overproduction. The result of this surfeit of grain is behemoth corn processors, who have commoditized the Aztecs' sacred grain and developed ways to separate corn into products wholly removed from its original kernels. This excess food and Americans' wealth and rapid-paced lifestyles now yield supersized portions of less-than-nutritious eatables. Pollan contrasts the technologically driven life on an Iowa corn farm's feedlots with the thriving organic farm movement supplying retailers such as Whole Foods. Pollan also addresses issues of vegetarianism and flesh eating, hunting for game, and foraging for mushrooms. Throughout, he takes care to consider all sides of issues, and he avoids jingoistic answers. Although much of this subject has been treated elsewhere, Pollan's easy writing style and unique approach freshen this contemporary debate.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2006, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        September 7, 2009
        This youth-friendly version of Pollan's bestseller, with updated facts, assorted visuals and a new introduction and afterword, is as enlightening as it is accessible. The adaptation uses the same “four meal” format of the original book, as Pollan describes the impact of humans' heavy corn consumption, explores the organic food industry, takes part in the system of farming practiced at Polyface Farm and hunts mushrooms and wild pigs. Much of the appeal lies in Pollan's hands-on methods and sensitive articulations as he assists readers in navigating the complexities of the production and consumption of food. Conscientious readers will grasp the important lessons. Ages 10–up.

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"Outstanding . . . a wide-ranging invitation to think through the moral ramifications of our eating habits." —The New Yorker
One of the New York Times Book Review's Ten Best Books of the Year and Winner of the James Beard Award
Author of This is Your Mind on Plants, How to Change Your Mind and the #1 New York Times Bestseller In Defense of Food and Food Rules

What should we have for dinner? Ten years ago, Michael Pollan confronted us with this seemingly simple question and, with The Omnivore’s Dilemma, his brilliant and eye-opening exploration of our food choices, demonstrated that how we answer it today may determine not only our health but our survival as a species. In the years since, Pollan’s revolutionary examination has changed the way Americans think about food. Bringing wide attention to the little-known but vitally important dimensions of food and agriculture in...
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A Natural History of Four Meals
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tableOfContents
The Omnivore's DilemmaIntroduction: Our National Eating Disorder

I. Industrial: Corn

One. The Plant: Corn's Conquest
Two. The Farm
Three. The Elevator
Four. The Feedlot: Making Meat
Five. The Processing Plant: Making Complex Foods
Six. The Consumer: A Republic of Fat
Seven. The Meal: Fast Food

II. Pastoral: Grass

Eight. All Flesh Is Grass
Nine. Big Organic
Ten. Grass: Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Pasture
Eleven. The Animals: Practicing Complexity
Twelve. Slaughter: In a Glass Abattoir
Thirteen. The Market: "Greetings from the Non-Barcode People"
Fourteen. The Meal: Grass Fed

III. Personal: The Forest

Fifteen. The Forager
Sixteen. The Omnivore's Dilemma
Seventeen. The Ethics of Eating Animals
Eighteen. Hunting: The Meat
Nineteen. Gathering: The Fungi
Twenty. The Perfect Meal

Acknowledgments
Sources
Index

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      • code: HEA017000
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      • code: SOC055000
      • description: Social Science / Agriculture & Food