Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals” as Want to Read:
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  197,342 ratings  ·  13,701 reviews
Today, buffeted by one food fad after another, America is suffering from what can only be described as a national eating disorder. Will it be fast food tonight, or something organic? Or perhaps something we grew ourselves? The question of what to have for dinner has confronted us since man first discovered fire. But, as Michael Pollan explains in this revolutionary book, h ...more
Paperback, 450 pages
Published August 28th 2007 by Penguin Books (first published April 11th 2006)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Omnivore's Dilemma, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Claire When I was 11, I read a lot of nonfiction on cannibalism (some social/ritual, some survival situations) and doomed endeavors (think polar expeditions,…moreWhen I was 11, I read a lot of nonfiction on cannibalism (some social/ritual, some survival situations) and doomed endeavors (think polar expeditions, shipwrecks, mountain climbing) and I was a very sensitive child. Despite this combination of temperament and nonfiction horror stories, I had nightmares only about the SyFy original movies I watched with my father and various stressful social situations. I think most kids can handle this.
If you worry what your kid is reading, read it too, and talk about it with them. (My dad liked science and history so I bounced a lot of what I read off of him.) Don't make it a problem until it becomes a problem. If they read this and spout food facts for a few months, or even become a vegetarian - as one person here worried - fine and dandy. If they read this and start breaking down in tears whenever they see farm animals, then address it and monitor reading more closely. (less)
Sarah-beth It is good in that it promoted a lot of discussion. However the first part is pretty hard to get through and around half of the people in our book clu…moreIt is good in that it promoted a lot of discussion. However the first part is pretty hard to get through and around half of the people in our book club didn't finish it.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  197,342 ratings  ·  13,701 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
Feb 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Michael Pollan is a journalist, and an omnivore, curious about where the food he puts in his mouth comes from. In the book he follows four meals from the very beginning of the food chain to his plate. What he finds is that the food we put in our mouths turns out to be a big decision- a moral, political, and environmental one.

Part One- CORN
The discussion begins with CORN. Part one of this book is shocking. I knew corn was the main crop grown in America and that farmers growing it are in big troub
Lisa Vegan
I was resistant to reading this book because I’m not an omnivore, and also I thought that Pollan’s book The Botany of Desire was brilliant and I suspected I would not feel as fond of this one, which is certainly true. He does write well, but I didn’t find that this book had the eloquence or elegance of the other.

The sub-title of this book could read: It’s Really Ok To Eat Dead Animals, Really It Is. Which I realize for most people it is. But eating flesh foods and other foods made from animals s
Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: transformative, eco
I liked Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma so much that I searched goodreads reviews for reasons not to like it.

Let me explain.

Whenever a really influential book like this comes out, there's a pretty reliable pattern that follows. There's the newspaper "toast of the town" effect, followed by bland and ubiquitous morning TV interviews, and, if you're lucky, an innocuous appearance on Oprah, probably followed by a massive boost in sales. However, there is usually a fairly large group of peopl
Aug 08, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wow, it seems like a lot of people didn't notice that this kinda sucked! Weird. It read to me like he wrote The Botany of Desire, decided that that framework- a loose structure in which he can just talk alternately interesting and totally self-serving shit for a whole book- and figured he'd give it another go, but this time as his MAGNUM OPUS. And I was pretty into it, for the most part, but in a lot of the parts where he thinks he's being super even-handed, he's actually often being a boring mi ...more
Dec 13, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
He makes some good points but in the end, it smacks of well-off white man over simplifying an incredibly complex issue. What the book has going for it is that it's a best seller, especially to the faux-liberal, over educated set and it's at least making them THINK about where their food is coming from. What I don't like though, is that it lets them off the hook as far as accountability if they just go about buying the RIGHT kind of meat. Well, all of that free range "humane" meat goes to the sam ...more
I love food. I really love food. I believe it is one of the most fascinating cultural facts in our lives. I particularly love food that is taken as meals and then the words that gather about meals – not least that most beautiful word ‘sharing’. Because food is never better than when it is shared as ours.

Recently I was delighted to learn the etymology of the word ‘companion’. That has become my favourite way to describe the people I’m fond of. The word comes from Latin and means ‘with bread’ – t
Jason Koivu
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food, non-fiction
After reading books like these, I'm not sure what to eat anymore.

Michael Pollan, a sort of food journalist, doesn't always give you the kind of clear-cut answers you'd like if you're reading books like this in order to learn what's healthy for your body and what's not. However, here are two important things I did learn:

#1 - Eating only one thing is not good for you in the long run.

#2 - Corn is in nearly everything we eat these days.

America grows corn. The American government pays for its farmer
Oct 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lifestyle
Man, this book is great. The best book I read last year, easily. Mushrooms, chicken slaughter, sustainability, french fries, soul-searching questions, it's all here. Just read it already.

Okay, if that didn't sell you, here's more info, from the review I wrote for my farm community (Stearns Farm, Framingham, MA):

The Omnivore’s Dilemma created a lot buzz since its publication in 2006, so you may have read it already. If you haven’t picked it up yet, consider checking it out. At 464 pages, it is
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, Michael Pollan
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals is a nonfiction book written by American author Michael Pollan published in 2006. In the book, Pollan asks the seemingly straightforward question of what we should have for dinner. As omnivores, the most unselective eaters, humans are faced with a wide variety of food choices, resulting in a dilemma. Pollan suggests that, prior to modern food preservation and transportat
The “national eating disorder” (which, sadly, lumps Canada in with the US of A – because while Canadians don’t quite have the same issues than our neighbors to the south do, it would be preposterous to claim we are not also affected by food-related madness, if only by proximity) Michael Pollan wrote about in this book is something that has always fascinated me. I was raised in a Franco-Italian household, so food and cooking were always big deals; it was not unknown for my mother to laugh right i ...more
Patrick Gabridge
I thoroughly enjoyed The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. He's been one of my favorite writers, ever since I read A Place of My Own, some years ago. And I stumble across stories by him in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, often quite by accident, and then look at the byline to see who this talented writer is, and there's Pollan again.

The book has the distinct danger of making you annoying to your spouse/partner/children, because you'll be reading along and feel compelled to share a fact a
Elle (ellexamines)
remember when this book, written by a proud meat-eater, accidentally made me a vegetarian?

Okay, but seriously, I'd recommend giving this a read. Give the teen version a read if you really can't take a 450-page nonfiction book. Either way, I think everyone needs to know exactly how the food industry works. And no, it's not advocating for you to become a vegetarian - it's simply showing truths. The lack of attempt to guilt readership is honestly what stands out about this book. By showing reality
Feb 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Update 5/23/2010 Terrific piece by Michael Pollan in the NYRB June 10, 2010, "The Food Movement, Rising" in which he reviews five books: Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal, Terra Madre: Forging a New Global Network of Sustainable Food Communities, All You Can Eat: How Hungry is America?, The Taste for Civilization: Food, Politics, and Civil Society, Eating Animals

I am beginning to wallow and bask in the mire of food politics, subject of Pollan's piece. It's interesting to read the comments secti
Matt Quann
The Omnivore's Dilemma is definitely worth your thyme!

Have you ever thought about where that burger came from?

How about the diet of your store-bought salmon?

Are you just tired about hearing about the exhaustive origins of your food at every fancy restaurant?

Do you wish your hipster friends would stop trying to get you to forage for mushrooms?

Then I've got the book for you!

I'd been taking down the audiobook of Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals intermittently for m
Nov 05, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had an idea of where this book was headed before I even read it--eat organic, local produce, and choose grass-fed meat over factory farm meat. I knew from a quote in Eating Animals that Pollan eventually dismisses vegetarianism as a decision not grounded in reality. What I didn't expect was for him to reach that conclusion so quickly and without so much as visiting a slaughterhouse.

Instead he visits Polyface farms, slaughters a few chickens in a manner far more humane than the fate met by the
Sep 24, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Michael Pollan is anti-science.

He blames scientists for the misappropriation of scientific language in advertising. He touts folk wisdom.

I saw him at a book reading and asked him why he is critical of science. He said the science is too easy to abuse, so it should just be ignored.

This is horrible advice. Ignorance doesn't solve anything.
It leaves people vulnerable to those who would mislead and deceive them.
A wise man recently told me, "Capitalism is here to stay." With that in mind, Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma is a feel good guide to consumerism at its most sustainable, organic, locally grown, and ultimately high-end. Yes, this is an eye-opening read that will, at first, make you want to stop eating all together then compel you to grab a sturdy pair of boots you can kick around in, throw on some clothes that will certainly get dirty, if not bloody, and step into the splendors of the na ...more
I am a little late to the table with Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma but it is just as relevant now, if not more so, than when it was first published in 2006. The work deserves a permanent place on everybody's bookshelf.

Having been raised on a steady diet of good food as well as Diet For A Small Planet, (the original) Mother Earth News and Harrowsmith I felt confident that I was aware of the pitfalls of modern food production. But, as aware as I was, and as informed as I try to stay, my
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: foodie-lit, history
(3.5) I made the mistake of reading this a decade after its publication, which means I already knew most of its facts about industrialized farming and the insidiousness of processed foods, especially high-fructose corn syrup. I found Part I to be overly detailed and one-note, constantly harping on about corn. The book gets better as it goes on, though, with Pollan doing field research at Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm in Virginia to compare large-scale organic agriculture with more sustainable gra ...more
Update: The Wilson Quarterly provides a very nice slideshow of Polyface Farm, in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, which plays a key role in Pollan's examination of sustainable agriculture.

            •                 •                 •                 •                 •

I thought when I started this book that a review would be superfluous—after all, it was published many years ago and has been reviewed thousands of times. But the material is provocative, and some reviews on this and similar books
Roy Lotz
I feel compelled to give this book top marks, not because it I loved every second of it, and not because I agreed with every one of Pollan’s many opinions, but simply because I cannot imagine a better book about food. For a book dedicated to such a seemingly banal subject as what to eat for dinner, The Omnivore’s Dilemma is remarkably ambitious—so ambitious, in fact, that I am inclined to view my dinner with even more reverence than I customarily do.

The titular dilemma refers to the difficult
Not to sound too corny, but this book changed my life and how I view food and the agricultural industry. Of course, I was already aware of some parts of it – namely, the pesticides, the environmental destruction, the green-washing in Whole Foods aisles, the migrant labor, the animal cruelty. But I heavily enjoyed the chapters on corn and grass, which are arguably two of the most important members of our agricultural ecosystem that I hardly spared a thought towards.

This book is information dense,
Tracy Rhodes
May 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I'll never look at corn the same way again.

This book provokes a lot of thought about the origins of our food and the biological, political, social and economic implications of those origins. I liked that Pollan approached the topic journalistically, with admirably little in the way of political agenda. To structure his book, he uses the format of following the path of four finished meals from origin to plate - one McDonald's meal, one comprised of supermarket organic products, one from a "beyond
Jan 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed, non-fiction
From the very beginning, Omnivore’s Dilemma, it had me thinking a lot about my childhood. I grew up on my grandparents’ farm in MN, where we had draft horses, cows, chickens, a garden filled with vegetables, apple trees and rows upon rows of corn. I learned how to take an ear off the stalk at a very young age – probably around the same time that I learned how to bale hay – because across the farm from the rows of corn, we also had a field of alfalfa and wheat. While my grandpa grew corn to sell ...more
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I became vegetarian when I was 6 or 7, though I was thrilled while reading the hunting part! The author narrated his experience in hunting so marvellously that I got shocked and questioned myself: do I enjoy it, seriously?! I was also amazed by how quirky can be a mushroom forager! Want to meet one of them!
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I can't remember the last time I read a book I learned so much from. This is highly recommended for anyone who wonders about food, obesity, organic, local, vegetarian, etc. Quotes if you're interested (but I could have quoted the entire book!). I know I will never look at corn the same way, nor will I ever buy the "cheap eggs."

(On obesity)"Very simply, we subsidize high-fructose corn syrup in this country, but not carrots. While the surgeon general is raising alarms over the epidemic of obesity,
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food, usa
Michael Pollan is a food activist, trying to get people to dump fast food and industrial food, and eat healthier. I first came across him in a documentary called Cooked, and I loved the way he talked about fresh food. Eating (and cooking, to some extent) is a passion with me, so I was hooked. I loved the documentary, and I expected to love this book. And I did!

The main subject of the book is how maize (or corn) displaced all other crops in the US. Because it offers a better return for money for
I learned a lot from reading this, and my outlook on an omnivore's diet has completely changed. It is impossible not to appreciate the author's painstaking attention to detail as well as his passion for food.

While my mind wandered at certain parts, such as the fungi search, I was surprisingly interested with the industrial effect on food and what it really means to construct a meal from the earth.
Aug 20, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Has served to overcome my general revulsion of journalists mascarading expose as scientific truth (e.g. Malcolm Gladwell or Thomas Friedman). Well worth reading, though a second, scientific perspective (read "not Schlosser") would be a good companion to fill out what this book offers.

---Finished: I take back what I said, what I thought was gearing up to be analytical and thought provoking really unwound over the course of the book. Pollan comes off a lot more like a homespun wisdom-spewing gran
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, history, food
A more accurate subtitle for this book would be “An Ecology of Four Meals.” The ecological perspective permits Pollan to focus on questions of sustainability, and social and environmental cost, as opposed to the point of purchase price visible to the consumer. His first meal is the ubiquitous fast food family meal consumed on the road with his family. It is no surprise that the meal represents a choice of convenience over nutrition. What is surprising is that the meal is based on corn, Number 2 ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
produsen beras organik 1 5 Oct 22, 2018 09:59PM  
Non Fiction Book ...: Omnivore's Dilemma July 8 - August 8 75 40 Aug 07, 2018 12:40AM  
SQHS YLL: The Omnivore's Dilemma: The horrifying realization of Food anywhere and everywhere 6 13 Jun 07, 2018 11:02AM  
The Omnivore's Dilemma 1 11 Dec 01, 2017 06:56AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Vision to Reality: Stop Working, Start Living
  • Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal
  • Food Inc.: A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About It
  • Soul Cure: How to Heal Your Pain and Discover Your Purpose
  • Fierce Love: Creating a Love that Lasts—One Conversation at a Time
  • Sustainable & Responsible Investing 360°: Lessons Learned from World Class Investors
  • The Local School
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
  • The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food
  • Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World
  • Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
  • A Conservation Notebook
  • Eating Animals
  • Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us
  • Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster
  • A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
  • Una Historia de Ayer
  • Silent Spring
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Michael Pollan is an American author, journalist, activist, and professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is also the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism.

Excerpted from Wikipedia.

Related Articles

Are you itching to embark on an epic reading adventure? Lucky for you, this season offers some stellar (and interstellar) new books for...
133 likes · 22 comments
“The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world. ” 202 likes
“Very simply, we subsidize high-fructose corn syrup in this country, but not carrots. While the surgeon general is raising alarms over the epidemic of obesity, the president is signing farm bills designed to keep the river of cheap corn flowing, guaranteeing that the cheapest calories in the supermarket will continue to be the unhealthiest.” 84 likes
More quotes…