rating: 4 of 5 stars
Pollan takes on a tremendous writing feat and accomplishes his goal of tracing the journey of three very different meals. Part 1 follows the industrial food chain beginning in a Iowa cornfield and travels all over America in search of where the corn goes and what it becomes, both animal and chemical. Eventually we end up in a car in Marin County sharing a McDonald's meal with Pollan's family. You have no idea what is really in a McNugget, and you probably don't want to.
Part 2 gives an in depth look into organic and sustainable farming; they are not always the same thing. From Polyface farms in Virginia to an industrial organic farm in CA, Pollan explains where the organic movement started and where it is today. You also get to learn a lot about chicken poop and grass. And in the end we share a meal comprised of only locally raised and in season foods cooked by Pollan himself.
In Part 3 Pollan takes on the task of preparing a meal from foods he has hunted, foraged or grown himself. So he goes wild pig hunting, mushroom hunting, and even captures wild yeast. In the end, Pollan does not leave the reader with any trite conclusions about food or how we ought to eat. We are left still with the omnivore's dilemma, but with some more information and a gut check, if you will.
After reading this book I am even more serious about buying local in season food and about growing some of our own. We have talked about buying a house with some land so we can grow some of our food, maybe in a few years this will be possible. I want to look my food in the eye, or at least the people who grow it, and be able to still eat it with a smile on my face. We can look away and continue to eat mindlessly from the industrial trough, or we can develop our own food culture based on more than profits, federal subsidies and convenience.
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