Gift Books: Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma

December 3, 2009 By: Marshall Cutchin

No, it doesn’t have much to do with fly fishing — at least not directly — but food writer Michael Pollan‘s The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (Penguin, August 2007, 484 pages) should be on the gift list for anyone concerned with how our eating habits directly shape the health of our environment. And if you’ve ever wanted to understand the link between corn monocultures, cattle feedlots, processed foods and polluted rivers and oceans, look no further.
This paperback (precursor to his more recent In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto and the followup to The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World) manages to make sense of a bewildering national preoccupation with food menus and eating habits that has — ironically — only made us and our natural surroundings less healthy. More remarkably, Pollan’s prescriptions for improved individual and environmental health are quite simple: enjoy food, but only “real” food. At about nine bucks on Amazon, it’s a winter reader’s steal.

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