The Omnivore's Dilemma

The Omnivore's Dilemma

A Natural History of Four Meals

Book - 2006
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One of the New York Times Book Review's Ten Best Books of the Year

Winner of the James Beard Award

Author of How to Change Your Mind and the #1 New York Times Bestsellers In Defense of Food and Food Rules

What should we have for dinner? Ten years ago, Michael Pollan confronted us with this seemingly simple question and, with The Omnivore's Dilemma, his brilliant and eye-opening exploration of our food choices, demonstrated that how we answer it today may determine not only our health but our survival as a species. In the years since, Pollan's revolutionary examination has changed the way Americans think about food. Bringing wide attention to the little-known but vitally important dimensions of food and agriculture in America, Pollan launched a national conversation about what we eat and the profound consequences that even the simplest everyday food choices have on both ourselves and the natural world. Ten years later, The Omnivore's Dilemma continues to transform the way Americans think about the politics, perils, and pleasures of eating.

Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2006.
ISBN: 9781594200823
Branch Call Number: 394.12 POLLAN M
Characteristics: 450 pages ; 25 cm.


From the critics

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Dec 11, 2020

Journalist Michael Pollan delves into the powerful forces that determine the food we eat, how it is grown and produced, the disastrous environmental effects, and the way the food industry has changed and been regulated since our grandparents' time. Spoiler: nearly none of the above has citizens' health and best interests at heart.

This is one of those books that I wanted to read, knowing that I might afterward regret it. While I'm grateful to have had my eyes opened with respect to food production in my country, it nevertheless leaves me with feelings of sadness, anger, confusion and hopelessness. Still, you should read this book. Other reviewers were right: you will never look at a cornfield the same way ever again.

Oct 07, 2020

The Omnivore’s Dilemma is a detailed and thought-provoking book, worthy of a read. It allows the reader to think about something that usually sits in the back of their minds: food. In reading this book, I was able to reflect upon many things I didn’t usually consider when it came to food. I was questioning the morals surrounding eating meat and the ethical treatment of animals. Ever since reading this book, I have constantly thought about what the term “organic” really means, and how I can support local farmers when buying my food. The Omnivore’s Dilemma is truly a great book, however, it is extremely dense and it can be difficult to pick back up sometimes. Other than that, I would easily recommend this book to anyone, as it offers more than just a good read. I was able to develop a new outlook on what and where I eat, helping me see the bigger picture of the food world. Rating: 5/5 stars
@Makani of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

Apr 06, 2020

Michael Pollan takes mealtime and turns it on its head with THE OMNIVORE'S DILEMMA: A NATURAL HISTORY OF FOUR MEALS (Penguin Press, $26.95). Within its pages, he follows the genealogy of four meals (one from a fast food chain, one from a large organic supermarket, one from a small organic producer, and the fourth from sustenance he gathers himself) and exposes confounding - and surprising - issues about each. The biggest surprise: How both funny and fascinating a subject as pedestrian as mealtime is in Pollan's hands. It might be more appropriately titled THE SECRET LIVES OF MEALS.

Mar 04, 2020

A good read, but extremely dense. I found it difficult to stay focused on this book for too long and ended up switching to an audio version to ease the process.

He brings up some great points and new ideas on the origins of our food. I really appreciate that he calls out the new cancel culture within the food realm (i.e. fad diets and made up allergies). Humans are carnivores made to eat meat, veggies, and dairy so do so!

The darker side of the industry was very eye opening, yet depressive as there are no great alternatives. As the food/farming industry changes there is only so much we can do to mitigate the looming threat of being force fed CORN all the time.

Interesting and insightful - But I much prefer his talks and documentaries to his literature.

Nov 01, 2019

The Omnivores Dilemma is a fantastic read. It is a very interesting study of the American agricultural system and how our eating habits affect both our health and the health of the animals raised to feed us. Few books will make you question your own moral code more than this one, especially when it comes to your dinner plate. The most compelling argument I've seen yet for vegetarianism, veganism, and "beyond organic" food without ever mentioning them. An exposition of jarring facts that are definitely worth reading.

Jun 26, 2019

One of the best nonfiction books I've read this decade. I thought that since it was ten years old it would already be out of date, but sadly, it is still relevant today.

JCLAMELIAM Jun 18, 2019

Michael Pollan writes about food with remarkable care, insight and curiosity. This book works to untangle some of the reasons why it seems to be so difficult to make the right choices when it comes to what's for dinner. He traces the roots of four meals - fast food, organic, local, and a meal that he has grown/butchered/fermented all himself. This book is incredibly complex, well researched, well presented, and fascinating. I love that he doesn't really come up with answers, tips, tricks, or rules. This is no diet book, it's an exploration of the ethics, origins, and philosophy of food.

HCL_staff_reviews Oct 16, 2018

The author presents straightforward and practical reasons to highlight why people, especially Americans, should question what's in our food and where it comes from. — Laura C., Eden Prairie Library

Jan 13, 2018

Very detailed book. Pollan has a good sense of humor. He also gives many references all along. I wish this book was translated in French, faster for me to read.

Feb 09, 2015

Loved this book. Great for expanding our critical thinking and provides lots of "food" for thought.

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Apr 06, 2020

In THE OMNIVORE'S DILEMMA, Michael Pollan traces the genealogy of four meals (one from a fast food chain, one from a large organic supermarket, one from a small organic producer, and the fourth from sustenance he gathers himself) and exposes surprising issues about each. Both funny and fascinating, OMNIVORE'S is the ultimate reveal of the secret lives of meals.


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Apr 06, 2020

OMNIVORE'S is the ultimate reveal of the secret lives of meals.


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