Medical / Technology / Education feed
Great read! We can eat almost anything, but we are uncertain what we should eat. This omnivore's dilemma has not only vexed our ancestors trying to avoid poisonous foods it continues to occupy much of our time. We seem incapable of deciding what to have for lunch without consulting to dietary guidelines, advertising, and the pursuit of something cheap and convenient. We are also largely oblivious to the damage intensive, commodity, 'stack them high sell them cheap' farming does to our environment and the animals we eat.
"The industrialization - and brutalization - of animals in America is a relatively new, evitable, and local phenomenon: No other country raises and slaughters its food animals quite as intensively or as brutally as we do." p333
"So we find ourselves as a species almost back where we started: anxious omnivores struggling once again to figure out what it is wise to eat." p303
Through three meals (industrial corn fast food McDonalds, grass-fed permaculture 'beyond organic' chicken, and a hunter gatherer meal) Michael Pollan explores our complex relationship with food. He writes so well with wit, deep personal reflections, and shrewd observations.
I liked the great quote on sustainable local business from the farmer at the permaculture and ultra-local Polyface farm. "Joel had once told me he regarded the willingness of neighbors to work for a business as the true mark of its sustainability, that it operated on the proper scale socially and economically, as well as environmentally." p238
Also I liked the observation on situated (or is it social) learning. He describes the recognition of mushrooms in the wild and he is only confident to eat one when it has been identified as safe by someone who took him mushroom picking - despite the fact that he has read books and consulted mycologists. "[T]he process of imparting and absorbing this life-and-death information works better in person than it does on paper, whether through writing or even photography." p372. It is not only life-and-death situations that are best learnt in person.