The Omnivore’s Dilemma

by

Michael Pollan

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Michael Pollan Character Analysis

The author and first-person narrator of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Pollan is an accomplished writer on topics relating to food and the natural world. He is popular for writing in an accessible and entertaining way about the complicated economic and ecological systems behind the food we eat, and about how it’s grown and processed. In The Omnivore’s Dilemma, he combines first-person reporting with history and analysis, while traveling around the country to examine four different modern American food chains, and cook a meal based on each one. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Pollan eats these meals with his wife, Judith Belzer and son, Isaac Pollan, among other friends.

Michael Pollan Quotes in The Omnivore’s Dilemma

The The Omnivore’s Dilemma quotes below are all either spoken by Michael Pollan or refer to Michael Pollan. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bloomsbury edition of The Omnivore’s Dilemma published in 2006.
Introduction Quotes

So violent a change in a culture’s eating habits is surely the sign of a national eating disorder. Certainly it would never have happened in a culture in possession of deeply rooted traditions surrounding food and eating.

Related Characters: Michael Pollan (speaker)
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:

We show our surprise at this by speaking of something called the “French paradox,” for how could a people who eat such demonstrably toxic substances as foie gras and triple crème cheese actually be slimmer and healthier than we are? Yet I wonder if it doesn’t make more sense to speak in terms of an American Paradox—that is, a notably unhealthy people obsessed by the idea of eating healthily.

Related Characters: Michael Pollan (speaker)
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:

What is perhaps most troubling, and sad, about industrial eating is how thoroughly it obscures all these relationships and connections. To go from the chicken (Gallus gallus) to the Chicken McNugget is to leave this world in a journey of forgetting that could hardly be more costly…if we could see what lies on the far side of the increasingly high walls of our industrial agriculture, we would surely change the way we eat.

Related Characters: Michael Pollan (speaker)
Page Number: 10-11
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

The 129 people who depend on George Naylor for their sustenance are all strangers, living at the far end of a food chain so long, intricate, and obscure that neither producer nor consumer has any reason to know the first thing about the other. Ask one of those eaters where their steak or soda comes from and she’ll tell you “the supermarket.”

Related Characters: Michael Pollan (speaker), George Naylor
Page Number: 34-35
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

Through natural selection animals have developed a set of hygiene rules, functioning much like taboos. One of the most troubling things about factory farms is how cavalierly they flout these evolutionary rules, forcing animals to overcome deeply ingrained aversions. We make them trade their instincts for antibiotics.

Related Characters: Michael Pollan (speaker), Steer number 534
Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:

For one thing, the health of these animals is inextricably linked to our own by that web of relationships. The unnaturally rich diet of corn that undermines a steer’s health fattens his flesh in a way that undermines the health of the humans who will eat it. The antibiotics these animals consume with their corn at this very moment are selecting…for new strains of resistant bacteria that will someday infect us.

Related Characters: Michael Pollan (speaker), Steer number 534
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

The question is, Who or what (besides our cars) is going to consume and digest all this freshly manufactured biomass—the sugars and starches, the alcohols and acids, the emulsifiers and stabilizers and viscosity-control agents? This is where we come in. It takes a certain kind of eater—an industrial eater—to consume these fractions of corn, and we are, or have evolved into, that supremely adapted creature: the eater of processed food.

Related Characters: Michael Pollan (speaker)
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

The power of food science lies in its ability to break foods down into their nutrient parts and then reassemble them in specific ways that, in effect, push our evolutionary buttons, fooling the omnivore’s inherited food selection system. Add fat or sugar to anything and it’s going to taste better on the tongue of an animal that natural selection has wired to seek out energy-dense foods.

Related Characters: Michael Pollan (speaker)
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

It looked and smelled pretty good, with a nice crust and bright white interior reminiscent of chicken breast meat. In appearance and texture a nugget certainly alludes to fried chicken, yet all I could really taste was salt, that all-purpose fast-food flavor, and okay, maybe a note of chicken bouillon informing the salt. Overall the nugget seemed more like an abstraction than a full-fledged food, an idea of chicken waiting to be fleshed out.

Related Characters: Michael Pollan (speaker)
Page Number: 112
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

This is an astounding cornucopia of food to draw from a hundred acres of pasture, yet what is perhaps still more astonishing is the fact that this pasture will be in no way diminished by the process…Salatin’s audacious bet is that feeding ourselves from nature need not be a zero-sum proposition, one in which if there is more for us at the end of the season then there must be less for nature—less topsoil, less fertility, less life.

Related Characters: Michael Pollan (speaker), Joel Salatin
Related Symbols: Grass
Page Number: 126-127
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

Our civilization and, increasingly, our food system are strictly organized on industrial lines. They prize consistency, mechanization, predictability, interchangeability, and economies of scale. Everything about corn meshes smoothly with the gears of this great machine; grass doesn’t.

Related Characters: Michael Pollan (speaker)
Related Symbols: Corn, Grass
Page Number: 201
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

“Efficiency” is the term usually invoked to defend large-scale industrial farms, and it usually refers to the economies of scale that can be achieved by the application of technology and standardization. Yet Joel Salatin’s farm makes the case for a very different sort of efficiency—the one found in natural systems, with their coevolutionary relationships and reciprocal loops. For example, in nature there is no such thing as a waste problem, since one creature’s waste becomes another creature’s lunch.

Related Characters: Michael Pollan (speaker), Joel Salatin
Page Number: 214
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

Polyface’s customers know to come after noon on a chicken day, but there’s nothing to prevent them from showing up earlier and watching their dinner being killed—indeed, customers are welcome to watch, and occasionally one does. More than any USDA rule or regulation, this transparency is their best assurance that the meat they’re buying has been humanely and cleanly processed.

Related Characters: Michael Pollan (speaker), Joel Salatin
Page Number: 235
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

[I]f the bar code on the typical package of pork chops summoned images of the CAFO it came from, and information on the pig’s diet and drug regimen, who could bring themselves to buy it? Our food system depends on consumers’ not knowing much about it beyond the price disclosed by the checkout scanner. Cheapness and ignorance are mutually reinforcing.

Related Characters: Michael Pollan (speaker)
Page Number: 244-245
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

Every meal at a table recapitulates this evolution from nature to culture, as we pass from satisfying our animal appetites in semisilence to the lofting of conversational balloons. The pleasures of the table begin with eating…but they can end up anywhere human talk cares to go. In the same way that the raw becomes cooked, eating becomes dining.

Related Characters: Michael Pollan (speaker)
Page Number: 272
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

For one of the things I was hoping to accomplish by rejoining, however briefly, this shortest and oldest of food chains was to take some more direct, conscious responsibility for the killing of the animals I eat.

Related Characters: Michael Pollan (speaker)
Page Number: 281
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 16 Quotes

And while our senses can help us draw the first rough distinctions between good and bad foods, we humans have to rely on culture to remember and keep it all straight. So we codify the rules of wise eating in an elaborate structure of taboos, rituals, manners, and culinary traditions, covering everything from the proper size of portions to the order in which foods should be consumed to the kinds of animals it is and is not okay to eat.

Related Characters: Michael Pollan (speaker), Paul Rozin (speaker)
Page Number: 295-296
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes

This isn’t to say that we can’t or shouldn’t transcend our inheritance, only that it is our inheritance; whatever else might be gained by giving up meat, this much at least is lost. The notion of granting rights to animals may lift us up from the brutal, amoral world of eater and eaten—of predation—but along the way it will entail the sacrifice, our sublimation, of part of our identity—of our own animality.

Related Characters: Michael Pollan (speaker)
Page Number: 314-315
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

This for many people is what is most offensive about hunting—to some, disgusting: that it encourages, or allows, us not only to kill but to take a certain pleasure in killing. It’s not as though the rest of us don’t countenance the killing of tens of millions of animals every year. Yet for some reason we feel more comfortable with the mechanical killing practiced, out of view and without emotion, by industrial agriculture.

Related Characters: Michael Pollan (speaker)
Page Number: 360-361
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 20 Quotes

I prized, too, the almost perfect transparency of this meal, the brevity and simplicity of the food chain that linked it to the wider world…I knew the true cost of this food, the precise sacrifice of time and energy and life it had entailed.

Related Characters: Michael Pollan (speaker)
Page Number: 409
Explanation and Analysis:
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Michael Pollan Character Timeline in The Omnivore’s Dilemma

The timeline below shows where the character Michael Pollan appears in The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Introduction: Our National Eating Disorder
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Michael Pollan begins by explaining that The Omnivore’s Dilemma is a “long and fairly involved answer” to... (full context)
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Pollan traces the decline in American consumption of bread and pasta during the Atkins fad of... (full context)
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...“unhealthy” foods, they ultimately “wind up actually healthier and happier in their eating” than Americans. Pollan notes that Americans call this the “French paradox,” but suggests that it probably makes more... (full context)
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...with its own complications. “When you can eat just about anything nature has to offer,” Pollan notes, “deciding what you should eat will inevitably stir anxiety, especially when some of the... (full context)
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Continuing his explanation of the omnivore’s dilemma, Pollan points out that humans have to depend upon their “prodigious powers of recognition and memory”... (full context)
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...a history of “human tasters,” forerunners who have warned the population away from certain foods. Pollan writes: “Our culture codifies the rules of wise eating in an elaborate structure of taboos,... (full context)
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Unfortunately, what Pollan refers to as “the cornucopia of the American supermarket” has essentially reintroduced the average consumer... (full context)
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Pollan notes that, faced with this resurgence of the omnivore’s dilemma, he decided to “go back... (full context)
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The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Pollan asserts, focuses on three food chains that sustain humans: the industrial, the organic, and the... (full context)
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Pollan states that “all life on earth can be viewed as a competition among species for... (full context)
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Pollan explains that each section of The Omnivore’s Dilemma follows “one of the principal human food... (full context)
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The second section of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Pollan writes, will track the pastoral food chain, which is made up of “some of the... (full context)
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The book’s final section, Pollan explains, “follows a kind of “neo-Paleolithic food chain,” one that he follows from “the forests... (full context)
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Pollan believes there is a “fundamental tension between the logic of nature and the logic of... (full context)
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The way we eat, Pollan states, “represents our most profound engagement with the natural world.” It also represents the relationships... (full context)
Chapter 1: The Plant: Corn’s Conquest
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Walking through the supermarket, Pollan is astounded by the variety of plant and animal products. He notes that, to a... (full context)
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Pollan says that he became curious about tracing the origins of his food because of his... (full context)
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Pollan sets out to trace the industrial food chain to find the origins of modern processed... (full context)
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2. Corn Walking. Pollan notes that some Mexicans refer to themselves as “the corn people,” in recognition of corn’s... (full context)
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...used as a commodity has been key to its success, but also makes it, in Pollan’s words, “the protocapitalist plant.” (full context)
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...of this has led corn to adapt to “the world of industrial consumer capitalism,” as Pollan writes, becoming compatible with machines, petrochemical fertilizers, and increased demand for crop yield. Corn has... (full context)
Chapter 2: The Farm
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1. One Farmer, 129 Eaters. Pollan visits George Naylor on his 320-acre farm in Iowa, which has been in his family... (full context)
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...of this food. “Ask one of those eaters where their steak or soda comes from,” Pollan writes, “and she’ll tell you ‘the supermarket.’” (full context)
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2. Planting the City of Corn. Pollan helps Naylor plant corn, endlessly going over rows and rows in the tractor and marveling... (full context)
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...The density of corn planted in Iowa mirrors the population density of many urban centers, Pollan asserts. (full context)
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5. A Plague of Cheap Corn. George Naylor explains to Pollan how corn came to be so heavily subsidized by the government. Policies enacted during the... (full context)
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...who is barely making ends meet by keeping his farm expenses to a minimum, introduces Pollan to a neighbor who is growing a larger quantity of corn, but has taken on... (full context)
Chapter 3: The Elevator 
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Pollan visits the grain elevator where Naylor and other farmers in the surrounding area deposit their... (full context)
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...This began with the advent of railroads and grain elevators, which combine corn by region. Pollan now begins to understand Naylor’s claim that he grows food for “the military-industrial complex.” (full context)
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...so many different products, and contributed to the obesity epidemic in America. Because of this, Pollan realizes that there is no way he will be able to trace one bushel of... (full context)
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Pollan identifies the primary obstacle to tracing corn      along its food chain: the giant food corporations,... (full context)
Chapter 4: The Feedlot: Making Meat
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1. Cattle Metropolis. Pollan visits Poky Feeders, a cattle feedlot in Garden City, Kansas. He is interested in this... (full context)
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...small family farms of the past. The cattle here subsist chiefly on corn—which is ironic, Pollan points out, since cows have evolved to subsist on grass. The only reason why cattle... (full context)
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...raising of cattle to the ranchers, since it’s a financially high-risk operation. In South Dakota, Pollan visits Blair Ranch, which is owned by Ed and Rich Blair. At Blair Ranch in... (full context)
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Pollan points out that a cow’s reliance on grass makes superb evolutionary sense. Cows fertilize the... (full context)
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When Pollan made the acquaintance of steer number 534, the calf had just recently been weaned from... (full context)
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3. Industrial: Garden City, Kansas. Pollan notes that traveling from Blair Ranch to Poky Feeders feels a lot like going from... (full context)
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Pollan starts his tour at the feedmill, which processes a million pounds of feed each day.... (full context)
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Cattle are fed corn because it is the cheapest source of calories. But Pollan argues that this is not necessarily a sound justification. After all, cattle feedlots used to... (full context)
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Pollan visits pen 63, the new home of steer number 534. The pen overlooks a “manure... (full context)
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Pollan reflects that steer number 534 is not just connected to the production of cheap corn—he’s... (full context)
Chapter 5: The Processing Plant: Making Complex Foods
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...owned by companies like Cargill and ADM for processing. A scientist explains the process to Pollan: the corn is separated into its botanical parts in an energy-intensive process that uses ten... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Consumer: A Republic of Fat
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...The result was an epidemic of alcoholism that eventually culminated in Prohibition a century later. Pollan compares America’s alcohol crisis in the early nineteenth century to the obesity epidemic today. Now... (full context)
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Pollan dates the upswing in corn consumption to the 1970s, when President Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture,... (full context)
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The problem has gotten worse since the 1970s, Pollan argues, because the price of a calorie of sugar or fat has plummeted since then.... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Meal: Fast Food
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Pollan decides to visit a McDonald’s with his son Isaac and wife Judith, in order to... (full context)
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Pollan reminisces about his love of fast food as a child. Fast food has “a fragrance... (full context)
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Observing that the relationship between his cheeseburger and beef also seemed largely “notional,” Pollan suggests that the appeal of fast food is that it allows people to forget they’re... (full context)
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 Pollan poses the question of whether eating all this corn is a bad thing. From the... (full context)
Chapter 8: All Flesh is Grass
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1. Green Acres. After a long day shoveling hay, Pollan is exhausted. He’s begun working on an organic farm in Virginia, Polyface Farm, which is... (full context)
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Pollan describes Polyface Farm as “pastoral,” with its idyllic meadows, woods, and rivers. For Pollan, this... (full context)
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3. Industrial Organic. Pollan notes that Salatin’s farm is in many ways the opposite of Naylor’s: pastoral rather than... (full context)
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...wants to “opt out” of the entire system of control by government and agribusiness. When Pollan asked if Salatin could ship him some of his food, Salatin refused on the grounds... (full context)
Chapter 9: Big Organic
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1. Supermarket Pastoral. Pollan writes that shopping at Whole Foods is a “literary experience,” since many of the organic... (full context)
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...itself an “industrial artifact,” a substitute for actual first-hand experience and engagement with those farms. Pollan decided to try to figure out just how much the fiction of Supermarket Pastoral holds... (full context)
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2. From People’s Park to Petaluma Poultry. Pollan tells the story of People’s Park in Berkeley, California, a vacant lot seized by a... (full context)
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Pollan visits Cascadian Farm with Kahn, who explains how he began his “corporate adventure.” In 1990,... (full context)
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...farm managed by an organic farmer represents land that won’t be doused with chemicals. When Pollan decided to visit some of these organic farms in California, however, he found farms that... (full context)
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...like Whole Foods—which needs a large-scale supply of produce—will only contract with bigger organic farms. Pollan suggests that it seems impossible to reconcile the ideals of organic farming with the needs... (full context)
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Pollan tells the story of another originally small-scale organic operation, Drew and Myra Goodman’s Earthbound Farm.... (full context)
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4. Meet Rosie, the Organic Free-Range Chicken. Pollan visits Petaluma Poultry, an organic farm in California and the home of Rosie, the “free-range”... (full context)
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5. My Organic Industrial Meal. Pollan cooks a meal at home for his family: Rosie the organic chicken, along with some... (full context)
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Pollan ponders the question of whether organic food is necessarily “better.” He thinks that organic produce... (full context)
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At the same time, an organic factory meal does “leave footprints on the world,” as Pollan puts it. Conditions for animals on organic CAFOs are often only marginally better than that... (full context)
Chapter 10: Grass: Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Pasture
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1. Monday. Pollan points out that we tend to think grass is a monolith (i.e. that it’s all... (full context)
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...by “management-intensive grazing,” a technique that relies on the farmer’s strategic abilities. He explains to Pollan that he moves his animals to graze a pasture when the grass is at its... (full context)
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...setting up new electric fencing, a task that only takes fifteen minutes to accomplish. As Pollan watches the cows enjoy their evening meal, he reflects on the simplicity of this food... (full context)
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But although this food chain might look simple, Pollan argues that it’s actually not. When a cow eats the grass, it sets off a... (full context)
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According to Pollan, eating animals that eat grass is about as close as humans can get to a... (full context)
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3. Monday Supper. Pollan sits down to supper with Joel Salatin, Joel’s wife Teresa, Joel’s daughter Rachel, and a... (full context)
Chapter 11: Animals: Practicing Complexity
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1. Tuesday Morning. Pollan wakes up late in the morning and hurries to his morning chores. He explains that... (full context)
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As Pollan watches the pigs happily feast on the cow manure, he reflects on the difference between... (full context)
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2. Tuesday Afternoon. By the afternoon, Pollan is exhausted, and he observes that most farmers probably aren’t up for the sort of... (full context)
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Pollan praises the productivity of Polyface Farm, which produces thousands of pounds of eggs, chicken, and... (full context)
Chapter 12: Slaughter: In a Glass Abattoir
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Pollan is apprehensive about slaughtering the chickens, but feels that a meat-eater should “take some direct... (full context)
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...are sold at market. After noon, customers begin to arrive to pick up their chickens. Pollan notes that this is the ethical power of Joel’s method: people are free to come... (full context)
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As Teresa chats with customers, Pollan helps compost the chicken guts and waste. This is one of the “grossest jobs on... (full context)
Chapter 13: The Market: "Greetings from the Non-Barcode People"
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1. Wednesday Afternoon. Pollan is reminded that he came to Polyface in the first place because Joel refused to... (full context)
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Pollan asks Joel how he responds to the charge that artisanal food like his is inherently... (full context)
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Pollan thinks that it’s odd that something as fundamental to people’s health as food is sold... (full context)
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 Pollan meets Bev Eggleston, a farmer who is trying to open an ethical meat processing meat... (full context)
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Pollan reflects on the difference between artisanal and industrial food systems. An industrial system is based... (full context)
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2. Tuesday Morning. In the morning, Pollan goes on a ride with Art Salatin, Joel’s brother. Art is responsible for managing the... (full context)
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For Pollan, this alliance between chefs, farmers, and consumers to help each other “opt out” of the... (full context)
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Pollan notices that a bumper sticker popular in the area reads “eat your view!”—meaning that people... (full context)
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Pollan asks Joel how he thinks the local food movement can triumph over the industrial forces... (full context)
Chapter 14: The Meal: Grass Fed
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Pollan decides to cook a meal for some friends in Charlottesville after a week working at... (full context)
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Pollan makes the soufflé with his friends’ young son, marveling at how easy the eggs are... (full context)
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Although Pollan has made this meal before, he notices some differences. It isn’t clear whether organic food... (full context)
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Pollan’s dinner guests agree that the food is delicious and that the chicken tastes more like... (full context)
Chapter 15: The Forager
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1. Serious Play. Pollan decides to make one last meal: a meal entirely made up of ingredients he has... (full context)
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The chief value of hunting and gathering at this point, Pollan argues, is “didactic”—which is to say, it can teach us something. He hopes that undertaking... (full context)
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2. My Forager Virgil. Pollan knows that, given his ignorance about foraging practices, he will need help—a guide that he... (full context)
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3. Hunter Ed. As Pollan prepares to get his hunter's license, he begins seeing nature in a new way. When... (full context)
Chapter 16: The Omnivore's Dilemma
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1. Good to Eat, Good to Think. Pollan notes that, for a human, being an omnivore is both a blessing and a curse.... (full context)
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According to Pollan, humans are also making this calculation every time they decide between, say, boxes in the... (full context)
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2. Homo Omnivorous. Pollan notes that, for humans, variety in what we eat is a “biological necessity.” Human bodies... (full context)
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3. The Anxiety of Eating. Pollan asserts that being an omnivore can be a source of pleasure. For example, humans’ sophisticated... (full context)
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4. America’s National Eating Disorder. Pollan thinks that part of the problem with American eating habits is that there has never... (full context)
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Americans lack a “lasting consensus about what and how and where and when to eat,” Pollan argues. The problem is exacerbated by food companies, which exploit “dietary instability” by developing processed... (full context)
Chapter 17: The Ethics of Eating Animals
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1. The Steakhouse Dialogues. Pollan first reads the work of Peter Singer, the world’s leading philosopher of animal rights, as... (full context)
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Pollan thinks that Singer makes powerful arguments in response to possible objections to his philosophy. For... (full context)
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For Pollan, the question comes down to whether people owe “moral consideration” to animals that can feel... (full context)
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2. The Vegetarian’s Dilemma. Pollan struggles with his new-found vegetarianism, which he feels alienates him from other people and makes... (full context)
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3. Animal Suffering. Pollan points out that it is “impossible to know what goes on in the mind” of... (full context)
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In a CAFO, however, Pollan thinks many of these distinctions between pain and suffering turn to dust. In an egg-producing... (full context)
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4. Animal Happiness. Although Pollan is horrified by the conditions for animals in CAFOs, he also thinks of the happiness... (full context)
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Animal domestication has benefited those animals, Pollan points out; chickens have thrived, but wild wolves have largely died out. Predation is the... (full context)
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...chickens as a species, they focus more on the suffering of the individual chicken. But Pollan argues that it is difficult to apply an individual rights-based idea of morality to the... (full context)
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5. The Vegan Utopia. Pollan thinks that “killing animals is probably unavoidable,” even in a vegan utopia. Field mice die... (full context)
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Pollan has an email exchange with Singer in which he asks what Singer thinks of a... (full context)
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6. A Clean Kill. As Pollan flies over Kansas, where steer number 534 is being slaughtered, he wonders what sort of... (full context)
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Pollan muses that human cultures have dealt with the ethical problems of killing animals for thousands... (full context)
Chapter 18: Hunting: The Meat
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1. A Walk in the Woods. When Pollan goes hunting, he feels an intense sensitivity to his environment as he looks for the... (full context)
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2. A Cannabinoid Moment. Pollan decides to hunt a wild boar, ostensibly because these pigs are regarded as pests that... (full context)
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As he waits for a pig to approach, Pollan finds himself in a state of heightened awareness of his surroundings. His lack of consciousness... (full context)
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3. Ready. Or Not. Pollan, Angelo, and their hunting partners sit down for a delicious lunch. Pollan gets relaxed and... (full context)
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4. My Pig. On his second outing with Angelo, Pollan manages to shoot a pig. In the moment before he shoots the pig, he feels... (full context)
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5. Making Meat. When it comes to actually dressing the animal, Pollan’s sense of elation fades. He writes that what hunters call dressing is actually an “undressing”... (full context)
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In light of this bloody and sickening experience, Pollan ponders how he could have felt so happy and triumphant when he shot the pig.... (full context)
Chapter 19: Gathering: The Fungi
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Pollan reminisces about his love of gardening as a child; gardens always “astonished” him with their... (full context)
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1. Five Chanterelles. Pollan hunts for mushrooms with Angelo, who knows a good spot in the Bay Area for... (full context)
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Pollan and his wife Judith recall a time when she found wild mushrooms in Connecticut. They... (full context)
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2. Mushrooms are Mysterious. Pollan is intrigued to learn that scientists know so little about mushrooms and fungi in general,... (full context)
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3. Working the Burn. Pollan goes hunting for morels (another mushrooms delicacy) with Anthony Tassinello, a foraging enthusiast who is... (full context)
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To find morels, Pollan relies on the “pop-out effect”—an evolutionary adaptation that allowed ancient human foragers to see what... (full context)
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By the end of the day, Pollan, Tassinello, and Porcini have collected sixty pounds of mushrooms, which they will sell to local... (full context)
Chapter 20: The Perfect Meal
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Pollan writes that this meal—made entirely of ingredients he had hunted and gathered himself—was “perfect” for... (full context)
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1. Planning the Menu. As he plans the meal, Pollan finds that he has to adjust some of the initial ground rules he had set... (full context)
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2. In the Kitchen. Pollan begins preparing his meal nearly a week in advance, since he has to gather wild... (full context)
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By the end of the week, Pollan has collected all his ingredients. He creates a punishing schedule of cooking on the day... (full context)
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3. At the Table. As his guests sit down to eat, Pollan proposes a toast to the people who helped him learn about foraging in Northern California,... (full context)
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For Pollan, this is the perfect meal. He values its “transparency,” the way that he knows the... (full context)
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Pollan compares this hunted and foraged meal to the McDonald’s meal he ate with his family.... (full context)