Tippy Jackson's Reviews > The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
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's review
Nov 14, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: culture, economics, politics, food-industry, environment, health

I really loved this book and I will probably read it again. Pollan basically follows 4 different meals to their sources. The beginning is an extensive look into corn. Sounds boring right? What could possibly be interesting about corn? FUCKING EVERYTHING!! Corn is such a presence in our lives in so many ways and what I loved about this section is that I learned a lot. He divides his organic meals into 2 separate meals, one that is large scale organic and the other is a small farm. He describes the entire balance of the farm ecosystem so expertly, in an organized way that simply flows from one organism to the next. Every piece plays its part. He then compares this to large farms and where this balance gets screwed up. He starts from the grass, from a cows-eye view. Yes, grass is interesting. Only if Michael Pollan is talking about it. He then hunts and gathers his own meal. Mostly. I really appreciate the research that went into this book. I love and use what I've learned from it. And yet, had I gone out and done this research myself, I would have been bored to unconsciousness and given up immediately. So thank you, Michael Pollan, for this beautifully written, informative book.


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Quotes Tippy Liked

Michael Pollan
“But perhaps the most alarming ingredient in a Chicken McNugget is tertiary butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ, an antioxidant derived from petroleum that is either sprayed directly on the nugget or the inside of the box it comes in to "help preserve freshness." According to A Consumer's Dictionary of Food Additives, TBHQ is a form of butane (i.e. lighter fluid) the FDA allows processors to use sparingly in our food: It can comprise no more than 0.02 percent of the oil in a nugget. Which is probably just as well, considering that ingesting a single gram of TBHQ can cause "nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse." Ingesting five grams of TBHQ can kill.”
Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

Michael Pollan
“But carbon 13 [the carbon from corn] doesn't lie, and researchers who have compared the isotopes in the flesh or hair of Americans to those in the same tissues of Mexicans report that it is now we in the North who are the true people of corn.... Compared to us, Mexicans today consume a far more varied carbon diet: the animals they eat still eat grass (until recently, Mexicans regarded feeding corn to livestock as a sacrilege); much of their protein comes from legumes; and they still sweeten their beverages with cane sugar.
So that's us: processed corn, walking.”
Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

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