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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Notes & Quotes: The Omnivore's Dilemma (Intro)

Yesterday, I briefly reviewed The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan with the promise to follow up with my "notes & quotes" from this book. When I read I do a LOT of underlining and "talking back" to an author, so I thought it might be fun to get the conversation started by sharing my thoughts about this book. Please feel free to chime in with your thoughts whether or not you've read this book. (If you have read it, all the better!)


p. 2 - discussing the sudden changes in dietary habits that have occurred since the late 70's and recent years mighty swings of fad diets: "So violent a change in a culture's eating habits is surely the sign of a national eating disorder...never happen in a culture in possession of deeply rooted traditions surrounding food...such a culture would not feel the need for its most august legislative body to ever deliberate the nation's 'dietary goals'...other countries, such as Italy and France, ...decide their dinner questions on the basis of such quaint and unscientific criteria as pleasure and tradition...and lo and behold wind up actually healthier and happier in their eating than we are."

p. 5 "The lack of a steadying culture of food leaves us especially vulnerable to the blandishments of the food scientist and the is very much in the interest of the food industry to exacerbate our anxieties about what to eat, the better to assuage them with new products."

p. 7 "Industrial agriculture has supplanted a complete reliance on the sun for our calories with something new under the sun: a food chain that draws much of its energy from fossil fuels instead."

p. 9 "Many of the problems of health and nutrition we face today trace back to things that happen on the farm, and behind those things stand specific government policies few of us know anything about."

There aren't many notes in my book at this point as the author is mostly focused on setting up his objectives. Perhaps these quotes will whet your appetite to read more of my notes and quotes...and/or purchase the book for yourself!

But what do you think so far? Do you agree with his basic premises?

What do you think about his idea that our lack of a common "cuisine" has made us vulnerable to food anxieties unlike other cultures? I think he's on to something very important. We need these common ties and if they are absent, we fill them with something (created ties - dieting, vegetarianism, fad diets or fad foods). Besides, when one looks at cultural cuisines all over the world you'll find healthy, varied diets that provide naturally beneficial food combinations.