by Michael Pollan (2006)
I live to eat, and I will drive almost any distance for a good meal, so I was excited when a friend recommended The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The title itself made me hungry. TOD is a fascinating cultural study of eating in the US: where our food comes from, how we’ve conditioned its production, how it’s conditioned our eating habits. Rather than making me hungry, it’s pretty disturbing. When we ask, “What should we have for dinner?” we probably don’t think, “Let’s eat corn!” (that is, unless you’re my friend Eunice, whose daily dinner consists of corn and beer). However,
“There are some forty-five thousand items in the average American supermarket and more than a quarter of them now contain corn. This goes for the nonfood items as well…” (p.19)
After eating at McDonalds with his family, Pollan writes:
“In order of diminishing corniness, this is how the laboratory measured our meal: soda (100 percent corn), milkshake (78 percent), salad dressing (65 percent), chicken nuggets (56 percent), cheeseburger (52 percent), and French Fries (23 percent).” (p. 117)
“You are what you eat, it’s often said, and if this is true, then what we mostly are is corn – or, more precisely, processed corn.” (p. 20)
Good thing I like corn.