lunabee34: (reading by tabaqui)
[personal profile] lunabee34
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four MealsThe Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I really enjoyed this book. I was first introduced to Pollan's writing in The Botany of Desire, and I liked that book so well that I looked for other books he's written.

The Omnivore's Dilemma raises fascinating and often disturbing questions about how we grow our food, about the way agriculture as an industry is harming our planet, and about the potential ways we might go about solving these problems. As Pollan says over and over again in the book, learning about the way we raise and slaughter meat on a mass scale in the U.S. is guaranteed to ruin the appetite. And yet, Pollan asserts that some of the ways people have tried to circumvent this problem (going vegetarian, only eating organic food, buying meat that comes from animals that were treated well before slaughter) come with their own sets of problems (like the large carbon footprint incurred by shipping organic fruits and vegetables all over the country/world, for example).

This book was very informative, but my favorite parts were the moments of introspection. I particularly enjoyed the part where Pollan turns up his nose at what he sees as off-putting machismo in "hunter porn" and then has to admit to his chagrin later that he can kinda see where those writers are coming from when they write about how hunting engages them on a primal level even while acknowledging how profoundly uncomfortable that realization makes him.

As someone who never ate a tomato from the store until I was an adult and who mostly ate protein as a child that was fished or shot by my dad, I appreciate stories that are about people eliminating the middle man between them and the food they eat.

Very highly recommended.



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(no subject)

10/1/17 14:19 (UTC)
chelseagirl: Alice -- Tenniel (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] chelseagirl
I was fascinated by this book when I read it, awhile back, as well.

My mother still serves frozen vegetables, and now serves mostly prefab and frozen meats/fish/etc., so I envy your upbringing!

(no subject)

10/1/17 21:24 (UTC)
sallymn: from a poster for Alice by Jan Svankmajer (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] sallymn
Sounds interesting...

Mind you, being irredeemably and frivolously me I'm not that sure I want to eliminate the middle man: if let for fend for myself I would last, oh a week if I was lucky???

(no subject)

11/1/17 04:31 (UTC)
sallymn: from a poster for Alice by Jan Svankmajer (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] sallymn
We have a corner block so room for a garden - Sis grows herbs, I have a black thumb (I am not kidding, I have killed IVY...)

(no subject)

10/1/17 22:08 (UTC)
dreamsofghostsandstars: Vanessa Ives, reigning over Earth in grand Goth style. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] dreamsofghostsandstars
I remember picking up the book one time-- I thought the topics were important, but found the tone rather pretentious. There's no doubt that modern animal farming is peculiarly horrific. My paternal grandfather raised meat animals, on pastures and in sties, for most of his life, but, as the industry changed, got out of the business as it changed. He took literally one look at the inside of a factory-style hog farm and said he had to leave the industry, since sty farming wasn't profitable anymore and what he'd seen was "no way to treat an animal." He stayed true to his intention to keep out of the industry, but I don't think he ever could think of a way to improve it in the face of increasing demand for cheap meat and other animal products.

With the benefit of several years' more scientific advancement, I think that the only way out is through. People are probably not going to quit clamoring for meat. (They should, maybe: For most, it wouldn't even be that hard. I lived a vegan lifestyle for several years before health issues forced me out of it, and, if it weren't for those issues, I'd still write off an animal-free diet as a small price to pay for a better world. But what people should do and what they will do aren't necessarily related.) However, the science of synthetic (petri-dish, not artificial) meat is growing by leaps and bounds. Within a span of 2 years, the cost of one method of production dropped by 80%: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/05/20/meet-the-future-of-meat-a-10-lab-grown-hamburger-that-tastes-as-good-as-the-real-thing/?utm_term=.15223bc3e599 People's opinions on animal welfare is likely to undergo a remarkable change when its price drops.

(no subject)

11/1/17 02:08 (UTC)
dreamsofghostsandstars: Vanessa Ives, reigning over Earth in grand Goth style. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] dreamsofghostsandstars
I wasn't referring to artificial meat in the not-meat sense-- I don't think most people will accept it, either. I'm thinking of real meat grown from stem cells rather than on the hoof. There are a lot of issues to be dealt with, but I see it as a far more sustainable solution, long-term, than reverting to small-scale farming or continuing with business as usual.

(no subject)

13/1/17 10:24 (UTC)
ariadne83: danny is ridic (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] ariadne83
The thing that gets me is: the way we produce food in pretty much *every* aspect is fucked up.

Example: my vegan friends who refuse to eat honey, so they consume agave instead. I hate to point out to them that bees feed on agave, so they're starving the creatures they aim to protect, but...

Moving from New Zealand to Australia made a HUGE difference to the way we eat. New Zealand is SUCH a small country that unless you grow it yourself, it's incredibly expensive to eat fresh fruit and vegetables. And having enough land to grow your own fruit/veggies it ALSO incredibly expensive, because I came from the country's capital. (Don't get me started on New Zealand's export first, fuck everyone else attitude that leaves locals shit out of luck unless they can afford to pay export prices for locally-sourced food.)

Food is a lot more affordable in Australia, and sometimes we end up being accidental vegetarians a couple of times a week because we really love fresh produce. But then there's my personal situation, where I get really ticked off with smug, holier-than-thou people on vegetarian/vegan/whatever flavour of the month diets because I have chronic iron depletion. No, trend of the week, I do not care if red meat is bad for you (it isn't) because I need it.

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