Synopsis (taken from Michael Pollan's official site)
A Natural History of Four MealsThe organization of the book is terrific. It is separated into 3 different food chains, in order from the longest to the shortest, Grain, Grass, and Forest. Pollan follows his dinner from production to plate along each of the chains. The book is sorta like a giant diary xD
What should we have for dinner? The question has confronted us since man discovered fire, but according to Michael Pollan, the bestselling author of The Botany of Desire, how we answer it today, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, may well determine our very survival as a species. Should we eat a fast-food hamburger? Something organic? Or perhaps something we hunt, gather, or grow ourselves? The omnivore’s dilemma has returned with a vengeance, as the cornucopia of the modern American supermarket and fast-food outlet confronts us with a bewildering and treacherous food landscape. What’s at stake in our eating choices is not only our own and our children’s health, but the health of the environment that sustains life on earth.
I find it amazing that in Grass and Forest, every part of nature just works so in sync with each other. One organism's waste becomes another's food, eg. The cow's manure contains lavres which becomes food for the chickens, and in turn the chicken's droppings nourish the soil in which the cow's food, grass, grows.
Speaking of Forest, in which Pollan makes a dinner only from ingredients that he grew/gathered/hunted himself, I happened to have wild mushroom soup at the cottage.
to this ;D
Was quite delicious once I overcame my initial doubt for the safety of eating wild mushrooms.
Back to the book,
It also talks about nutritionism, which is the prioritizing of individual nutrients over the whole food. Evident in calcium fortified orange juices, cereal with extra fiber, non-fat yogurt, etc etc. Every processed food nowdays has some sorta nutrient to advertise. You also hear alot of people saying things like "I'm on a low-carb diet" instead of "I really should eat more vegetables".
(half a topic change again, here's a great article on Gala Darling that talks about dietings, calories, and fat)
...and so I lost my train of thought.
All in all, the book raises some interesting points about what we consume everyday. Dinner's not quite what it seems :]