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Week 2 Book Review of Omnivores Dilemma

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Book Review of Omnivore’s Dilemma
ENGL135 Advanced Composition
DeVry University

Book Review of Omnivore’s Dilemma
The Omnivore’s Dilemma written by Michael Pollan has been written with an aim to address the confusion of every omnivore, or human being to address the need to decide what should be consumed when nature has such a huge variety and bounty to offer. The book starts with a fairly simple question aimed to make us think deeper about our evolved lifestyles and gastronomic tastes. The author asks his readers to answer a fairly simple question, which is “what should we have for dinner?” and goes on to show how complicated the answer can be.
The book is divided into three sections: - Industrial/Corn, Pastoral/Grass. Personal/The Forest, each of which brings out interesting sights and happenings in the food chain. The first section which is the Industrial/Corn section describes how corn is the most important ingredient in the industrial food chain, while the second section on Pastoral/Grass section talks about organic farming. The final section on Personal/The Forest finds the author describing how to make a meal out of whatever he could hunt, grown or gathered by him only. This article presents a book review on the first section only.
Michael Pollan shows us how difficult it is actually to choose what we eat given that nature has such a wide variety of bounty to offer. Yet if the American industry is scrutinized deeply, one basic ingredient seems to be the magical answer: - corn. The American food industry is strongly based on corn, and is used in various forms, from being fed to live stock, to being used in processed items such as soda or beer. The author describes how corn came to dominate the American markets and industrial food chain because of a combination of factors and pays a visit to George Naylor’s farm in Iowa to experience and learn about these factors first hand. He describes that human association of the corn is extremely essential as the plant cannot survive on its own. The seeds need to be planted one at a time by humans and only that way the next crop can be grown.
The author goes on to describe how every component of a burger meal is made from or based on corn. He analyzes a meal from McDonalds and goes to show that all the items on the meal are corn based. Pollan also spends time in a feedlot, analyzing the conditions in which animals are kept prior to their slaughter, and observes how feeding them corn is injurious for animals which are meant to consume grass. This leads to animals falling sick and therefore treated with antibiotics which lead to further complications as too much usage of the antibiotics have led to diseases such as mad-cow disease and others which would not have happened if the cows had been allowed their usual diet.
To summarize the first section, it would be said that the author has opened the reader’s eyes literally in terms of the products we think we are eating versus the ingredient that it actually is. Be it beer, Twinkies or McNuggets, the basic and strongest ingredient remains corn. Even the livestock is given a diet of corn as it is more pocket-friendly. This makes us re-think our eating habits and wonder why we are restraining ourselves when nature has such huge array of choices to offer. Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma is an excellent read if we consider ourselves as responsible consumers.

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