Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma (2006) 411p.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma is an easy to digest story about Michael Pollan’s attempt to trace the ingredients of three dinners back from table to origin. His quest is written in a largely anecdotal style and discusses the food chain of the average American dinner, an organic meal and a meal consisting of products that were hunted and foraged from the wild. The first two parts of the book about the products from the American food industry and the organic sector are still interesting enough and mixed with enough revealing stories and facts to compensate for Pollan’s essayistic style that dominates the book at the cost of factual information. But during the last part which re-counts Pollan’s experience hunting for wild boar and foraging mushrooms and morsel, I had to struggle through the last hundred pages.
The most revealing part is the part about the American meat and corn industry. It not only reveals convincingly how the whole agricultural system, from government to commercial farming, from the military-oil industry to the food sector, has been driven to the same disastrous monoculture of corn in America, but also how monstruous American food-production has degenerated into an contra-natural method. The implications of this system and its complex dependencies from the petro-chemical based fertilizer industry, the pharmaceutical industry, to the fast food industry, all these elements form part of the same interdependent whole that constitutes the American meal.