My 4-year-old is obsessed with anything on wheels and numbers, so this was perfect. The illustrations are big and bright, story is simple and engagingMy 4-year-old is obsessed with anything on wheels and numbers, so this was perfect. The illustrations are big and bright, story is simple and engaging and not bad for pre-readers who are starting to get curious about what those jumbles of letters actually say....more
I can see why this book has become such a classic. Pollan's main claim here is that we should all pay more attention to where our food comes from, andI can see why this book has become such a classic. Pollan's main claim here is that we should all pay more attention to where our food comes from, and many current trends are based on what different camps have taken away from paying more attention - Paleo diets with their move toward our ancestral unprocessed foods - the move toward more organics - the move away from high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, and any number of other artificial chemicals.
Yet, while the camps of many of these plans may be a bit fanatical and off-putting, Pollan comes off as merely curious and genuinely interested in the details of where our food comes from and how to eat quality food that comes from a food chain that will be sustainable for the foreseeable future. While he points out what might be ideal, he's also realistic that those models would not be sustainable if quickly and widely adopted and would require major societal shifts. He's more of the do what works for you school, and I can respect that.
As someone who grew up in the midst of the production side of the industrial food chain, I'm always a little leary of proponents of my family's way of life, but Pollan doesn't judge the people involved, merely observes how all the moving pieces in the industrial food chain make it hard for any one person in the chain to see the big picture side effects of this method of raising food. While change is clearly needed, Pollan is not advocating throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
I also found his critique of industrial organic food fascinating. I've read too many crunchy granola books about how wonderful and perfect organic farming is, so it was refreshing to see both the positive and negative aspects laid out here.
The section on Polyface Farms was really interesting and it's refreshing to see efforts like this prove the profitability of sustainable local farming, even though this method becoming the major source of food for most Americans is not going to happen any time soon.
My main takeaway from the foraging chapter is that I really want to go hunt wild boar. I think it would be delicious, and also I should maybe talk to my forager coworker because I know there are plenty of plants to forage in this area.
I can also count myself in the camp of people making real changes after reading this book. It's economically unfeasible for us to switch to all organic, sustainable, local produce, but I am going to spend more time reading labels and reexamining what tradeoffs I'm willing to make between price and quality.
We're also going to try to do one meal a week highlight organic/local/sustainable produce. This week we had organic greens with organic chicken, grass-fed cheddar, and organic carrots and it was amazing. The carrots were so sweet, the cheddar so sharp, the chicken so moist and tasty, the greens so crunchy. I wasn't sure what salad dressing to put on it, but found out I didn't need any (a first for me). I'm so glad there are more carrots left because I'm looking forward to eating them on their own later this week.
All in all, I'm really glad I read this book and am excited to continue learning more about where my food comes from....more