The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (英語) ハードカバー – 2006/4/25
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What should we have for dinner?" To one degree or another this simple question assails any creature faced with a wide choice of things to eat. Anthropologists call it the omnivore's dilemma. Choosing from among the countless potential foods nature offers, humans have had to learn what is safe, and what isn't—which mushrooms should be avoided, for example, and which berries we can enjoy. Today, as America confronts what can only be described as a national eating disorder, the omnivore's dilemma has returned with an atavistic vengeance. The cornucopia of the modern American supermarket and fast-food outlet has thrown us back on a bewildering landscape where we once again have to worry about which of those tasty-looking morsels might kill us. At the same time we're realizing that our food choices also have profound implications for the health of our environment. The Omnivore's Dilemma is bestselling author Michael Pollan's brilliant and eye-opening exploration of these little-known but vitally important dimensions of eating in America.
Pollan has divided The Omnivore's Dilemma into three parts, one for each of the food chains that sustain us: industrialized food, alternative or "organic" food, and food people obtain by dint of their own hunting, gathering, or gardening. Pollan follows each food chain literally from the ground up to the table, emphasizing our dynamic coevolutionary relationship with the species we depend on. He concludes each section by sitting down to a meal—at McDonald's, at home with his family sharing a dinner from Whole Foods, and in a revolutionary "beyond organic" farm in Virginia. For each meal he traces the provenance of everything consumed, revealing the hidden components we unwittingly ingest and explaining how our taste for particular foods reflects our environmental and biological inheritance.
We are indeed what we eat-and what we eat remakes the world. A society of voracious and increasingly confused omnivores, we are just beginning to recognize the profound consequences of the simplest everyday food choices, both for ourselves and for the natural world. The Omnivore's Dilemma is a long-overdue book and one that will become known for bringing a completely fresh perspective to a question as ordinary and yet momentous as What shall we have for dinner?
A few facts and figures from The Omnivore's Dilemma:
Of the 38 ingredients it takes to make a McNugget, there are at least 13 that are derived from corn. 45 different menu items at Mcdonald’s are made from corn.
One in every three American children eats fast food every day.
One in every five American meals today is eaten in the car.
The food industry burns nearly a fifth of all the petroleum consumed in the United States—more than we burn with our cars and more than any other industry consumes.
It takes ten calories of fossil fuel energy to deliver one calorie of food energy to an American plate.
A single strawberry contains about five calories. To get that strawberry from a field in California to a plate on the east coast requires 435 calories of energy.
Industrial fertilizer and industrial pesticides both owe their existence to the conversion of the World War II munitions industry to civilian uses—nerve gases became pesticides, and ammonium nitrate explosives became nitrogen fertilizers.
"'When you can eat just about anything nature has to offer, deciding what you should eat will inevitably stir anxiety,' Pollan writes in this supple and probing book. He gracefully navigates within these anxieties as he traces the origins of four meals—from a fast-food dinner to a "hunter-gatherer" feast—and makes us see, with remarkable clarity, exactly how what we eat affects both our bodies and the planet. Pollan is the perfect tour guide: his prose is incisive and alive, and pointed without being tendentious. In an uncommonly good year for American food writing, this is a book that stands out." —from The New York Times Book Review's “10 Best Books of 2006”商品の説明をすべて表示する
This is a very interesting book - well thought out and investigated. I am not certain that I want to consume meat again as Pollan tells the reader how these feeder lot cows, pigs and chickens actually live and die. Really, not my idea of humane. Just as interesting is his investigation of corn. It is amazing how corn is in absolutely everything from high-fructose corn syrup to fish food; gasoline to paint; fish to .... well, you get the idea. While more and more acreage is devoted to mono-crops, chiefly corn, we are the "benefactors" of everything that is corn related. Feed lot cattle are fed corn to fatten them up even though it makes them terribly sick and reduces the number of valuable nutrients available to grass fed cows. Multiply that by lamb, chicken, goat, salmon, tilapia, shrimp and you get an idea of why you are eating corn at every meal whether you know it or not. Compound this with the fact that 3 companies control the corn product from seed to pesticide to fertilizer and this monoculture is there to get you in one way or another. Corn that can be sprayed with pesticides that kill everything except the corn - bugs, weeds..... Makes you wonder what you are eating. Anyhow, Pollan has done a wonderful job investigating the food chain and its effect on the environment be it our internal flora or life on earth.
For me, this was a truly eye-opening and fascinating book. I felt like I learned a lot of things I should have already known and now have much more insight into. Also, his whole approach to food just felt so wholesome as to make me want to move our own lifestyle in that direction, particularly making more effort to buy locally produced food items, even if they cost more. Also, to pay more attention to where the foods we buy come from and think about the carbon footprint of, for example, blueberries flown here by jet from Central or South America. (Why not buy them in summer as preserves or jelly and just not eat them fresh out of season?). So, all in all most highly recommended to be read by everyone!