My premise is that like every other creature on earth, humans take part in a food chain, and our place in that food chain, or web, determines to a considerable extent what kind of creature we are. Reviewed in the United States on October 27, 2016, Reviewed in the United States on July 4, 2017, Omnivore's Dilemma was assigned to me in an upper-level economics course, along with other similar books. With the advent of the F-1 hybrid, a technology with the power to remake nature in the image of capitalism, Zea mays entered the industrial age and, in time, it brought the whole American food chain with it. In the plant world at least, opportunism trumps gratitude. Early in the twentieth century American corn breeders figured out how to bring corn reproduction under firm control and to protect the seed from copiers. The Omnivore’s Dilemma is about the three principal food chains that sustain us today: the industrial, the organic, and the hunter-gatherer. The breeders discovered that when they crossed two corn plants that had come from inbred lines—from ancestors that had themselves been exclusively self-pollinated for several generations—the hybrid offspring displayed some highly unusual characteristics. And if a vegetarian, a lacto-vegetarian or a vegan? The most impressive thing about the Omnivore's Dilemma is how well it has held up in the dozen years since it was first published. And so we dutifully had done, until now. From the very lengthy list of books, this and. I'm not sure yet what that means for me personally, or what actions I'll take on the back of having all this new information. But that's only because of the power they wield. Being a generalist is of course a great boon as well as a challenge; it is what allows humans to successfully inhabit virtually every terrestrial environment on the planet. Interconnectedness. Had to read this book for a class, and while it's about an interesting subject and has some really good facts, it can get suuuuper boring! The Omnivore’s Dilemma in the Food Chain Search. Plants? Originally, the atoms of carbon from which we’re made were floating in the air, part of a carbon dioxide molecule. I would recommend this book to anybody, not only interested in food but human nature, the relationships between plants, animals, and fungi, government, and an opportunity for a richer, more natural life. After a grain of pollen has fallen through the air and alighted on the moistened tip of silk, its nucleus divides in two, creating a pair of twins, each with the same set of genes but a completely different role to perform in the creation of the kernel. ), Corn won over the wheat people because of its versatility, prized especially in new settlements far from civilization. It had to adapt itself not just to humans but to their machines, which it did by learning to grow as upright, stiff-stalked, and uniform as soldiers. Bring your club to Amazon Book Clubs, start a new book club and invite your friends to join, or find a club that’s right for you for free. His absorbing narrative takes us from Iowa cornfields to food-science laboratories, from feedlots and fast-food restaurants to organic farms and hunting grounds, always emphasizing our dynamic coevolutionary relationship with the handful of plant and animal species we depend on. What he finds is that the food we put in our mouths turns out to be a big decision- a moral, political, and environmental one. Reviewed in the United States on August 6, 2018. Even better: The Omnivore’s Dilemma does it without telling you to eat a specific diet. Another theme, or premise really, is that the way we eat represents our most profound engagement with the natural world. No part of the big grass went to waste: The husks could be woven into rugs and twine; the leaves and stalks made good silage for livestock; the shelled cobs were burned for heat and stacked by the privy as a rough substitute for toilet paper. But most important of all, they found that the seeds produced by these seeds did not “come true”—the plants in the second (F-2) generation bore little resemblance to the plants in the first. It is also by far the biggest and longest. I’m not just talking about the produce section or the meat counter, either—the supermarket’s flora and fauna. I didn't find it too bias, I thought maybe the author was slightly judgmental of industrial food, however after experiencing what goes on there I can see why he would be, even if he was trying not to be. The intricacies of this process are worth following, since they go some distance toward explaining how corn could have conquered our diet and, in turn, more of the earth’s surface than virtually any other domesticated species, our own included. We haven’t yet begun to synthesize our foods from petroleum, at least not directly. The book’s second part follows what I call—to distinguish it from the industrial—the pastoral food chain. 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. Taschenbuch. Ideally, you would open your mouth as seldom as possible, ingesting as much food as you could with every bite. Corn is what feeds the steer that becomes the steak. Indeed, in the last few years a whole catalog of exotic species from the tropics has colonized, and considerably enlivened, the produce department. Pollan stipulates that the health of children and the environment plays an important role in sustaining life on earth (56). I’m talking of course about bread. Mashed and fermented, corn could be brewed into beer or distilled into whiskey; for a time it was the only source of alcohol on the frontier. And it surely would not be nearly so fat. For anyone who reads it, dinner will never again look, or taste, quite the same. Grab a beer for your beverage instead and you’d still be drinking corn, in the form of alcohol fermented from glucose refined from corn. (“Better safe than sorry” or “more is more” being nature’s general rule for male genes.) So what exactly would an ecological detective set loose in an American supermarket discover, were he to trace the items in his shopping cart all the way back to the soil? Responses to The Omnivore’s Dilemma. But our relationships with the wild species we eat—from the mushrooms we pick in the forest to the yeasts that leaven our bread—are no less compelling, and far more mysterious. The tractor I was driving belonged to George Naylor, who bought it new back in the midseventies, when, as a twenty-seven-year-old, he returned to Greene County, Iowa, to farm his family’s 320 acres. What is all this stuff, anyway, and where in the world did it come from? Some philosophers have argued that the very open-endedness of human appetite is responsible for both our savagery and civility, since a creature that could conceive of eating anything (including, notably, other humans) stands in particular need of ethical rules, manners, and rituals. He believed that our… This section explores some of the alternatives to industrial food and farming that have sprung up in recent years (variously called “organic,” “local,” “biological,” and “beyond organic”), food chains that might appear to be preindustrial but in surprising ways turn out in fact to be postindustrial. We rely on our prodigious powers of recognition and memory to guide us away from poisons (Isn’t that the mushroom that made me sick last week?) You won't want it if you read this book. Please try again. You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition. Though much has been done to obscure this simple fact, how and what we eat determines to a great extent the use we make of the world—and what is to become of it. The Omnivore's Dilemma: The Evolution of the Brain and the Determinants of Food Choice. 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