AmazingRibs.com is supported by our Pitmaster Club. Also, when you buy with links on our site we may earn a finder’s fee. Click to see how we test and review products.

Books on Food Science: The Omnivore’s Dilemma

The Omnivore’s Dilemma by 

This may be the most important book about food since Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle drew back the curtain on the Chicago stockyards in 1906. Both books take an analytical and critical look at how food gets to our table. The New York Times named The Omnivore’s Dilemma one of the 10 best books of 2006.

Pollan documents in fascinating detail how food and feed are grown, how government influences what we eat, and how what we eat influences our health, our environment, our politics, and our humanity.

He begins by reminding those of us old enough to remember that a cross country trip in the 1970s meant the strobe of farms populated with horses, beef cattle, dairy cattle, chickens, pigs, a seasonal vegetable, and fruit trees. Now such a trip reveals unbroken rows of corn and soybeans, monotonous “monocultures.” Corn, it seems, has subsumed everything beginning with some innocent sounding decisions by the Nixon administration, and it now is the vast industry whose by-products find their way into 25% of the products in the packaged goods in the grocery store. It is in all the animals we eat, and just about everything we eat with them. It is even in the toothpaste we use to clean up after. “Tell me what you eat,” said Brillat-Savarin, “and I will tell you what you are.” We are corn.

He goes on to demonstrate how corn has allowed a handful of politically powerful huge multinational conglomerates to control pricing of almost all farm products and have driven calories per acre yields to incredible records while driving the profit per acre for the farmer to the point of bankruptcy.

He shows how the quest for cheap calories has impacted our diets and the far reaching impact on everything including our health care system. He shows the relationship of our dependance on corn on our dependance on foreign oil, and I’m not talking corn oil.

His descriptions of the confined feedlot operations (CFOs) on which cattle are fattened for slaughter are revelatory. But he is not just another food Nazi. Some of his greatest surprises are found in his section describing the organic food industry and how far it has strayed from its roots.

In the final chapter, he hunts wild hog and enters into a tortured debate with himself over the morality and the benefits and disadvantages of eating meat. He asks all the right questions, and quotes positions of proponents of many of the various positions. It is one of the most informed unbiased debates I have seen on the topic.

Pollan is insightful, thoughtful, deadly serious without being pedantic (well, just a little), and occasionally witty.

There are some slow spots in the book, but the first 200 pages are riveting. This is a must read for people who love food, love the commonwealth, and wonder what the future holds.

Buy The Omnivore’s Dilemma from the Apple iBook Store

Buy The Omnivore’s Dilemma from Amazon 

Published On: 6/21/2018 Last Modified: 3/7/2021

 

High quality websites are expensive to run. If you help us, we’ll pay you back bigtime with an ad-free experience and a lot of freebies!

Millions come to AmazingRibs.com every month for high quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 2,000 pages and we don’t have a big corporate partner to subsidize us.

Our most important source of sustenance is people who join our Pitmaster Club. But please don’t think of it as a donation. Members get MANY great benefits. We block all third-party ads, we give members free ebooks, magazines, interviews, webinars, more recipes, a monthly sweepstakes with prizes worth up to $2,000, discounts on products, and best of all a community of like-minded cooks free of flame wars. Click below to see all the benefits, take a free 30 day trial, and help keep this site alive.


Post comments and questions below

grouchy?

1) Please try the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can’t help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different.

5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.

Moderators

  Max

Click for comments...

Spotlight

These are not paid ads, they are a curated selection of products we love.

All of the products below have been tested and are highly recommended. Click here to read more about our review process.

Use Our Links To Help Keep Us Alive

Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our “buy now” links. This has zero impact on the price you pay but helps support the site.


Groundbreaking Hybrid Thermometer!

Thermapen One Instant Read Thermometer

The FireBoard Spark is a hybrid combining instant-read capability, a cabled temperature probe, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi connectivity. Couple that with high standards of design and workmanship and it’s a “must own.” Click here to read our comprehensive Platinum Medal review.


The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted


It’s hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make their 22″ Pro Cart a great alternative! Click here for more about what makes this grill special.


Our Favorite Backyard Smoker

The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat-controlled oven. Click here for our review of this superb smoker.


BBQ And Grilling Gifts For Every Occasion


Looking for the perfect gift for the BBQ and grilling enthusiasts in your life? Here’s our suggestion for platinum and gold medal-winning products at a variety of price points. Click here to see our list of Gold Medal Gifts.