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The Omnivore's Dilemma: a Natural History of Four Meals - Essay Example

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2 November 2011. Book Review: The Omnivore's Dilemma: A natural history of Four Meals The Omnivore’s Dilemma studies the relationship that human beings have with food. This book elaborates the potential challenges and issues that the contemporary American food industry is exposed to…
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The Omnivore's Dilemma: a Natural History of Four Meals

Download file to see previous pages... For example, in the introductory note, Pollan asks the audiences to think what a nice dinner should constitute. Owing to the fact that a vast majority of people in the present age are omnivorous, few can come up with a solid answer to the question because there is so much to choose or leave from. In order to simplify this confusion, Pollan introduces three categories of food and divides the rest of the book according to them. The three categories of food identified by Pollan are the industrial food, the pastoral food and the personal food. In the review, the discussion is limited to the book’s introductory part which illustrates Pollan’s opinions regarding the industrial food. The modern food industry’s immense reliance upon the corn is the main point upon which Pollan basis his discussion. In this part of the book, Pollan draws the audiences’ attention towards the unusually high consumption of corn all across the West and particularly America. Corn happens to be the most important and vibrant ingredient of the American food industry because of its tendency to give a different flavor to different kinds of foods when used in different ways. Processed foods are termed as the signature foods of the contemporary age. Corn even plays an important role in even those foods which apparently seem to have no connection with corn whatsoever. For example, many people who tend to avoid corn conventionally feed upon such live birds and animals as chickens, fish and beef. Nevertheless, none of these can sustain without a diet rich in corn. Thus, all human beings today are consuming corn, directly or indirectly. If humans had to become what they ate, 99.99 per cent Americans today would have been corn. Pollan describes the modern industrial food chain in terms of the journey of the corn produced by the farmer from the corn-field to the shelf of the grocery store where the processed food item containing corn is places. Corn dominates the contemporary food chain by all means. It is quite astonishing and interesting at the same time that a seed that is sown into the ground happens to be the king of the American food industry. What makes Pollan’s analysis all the more interesting is the fact that corn exploits humans just as much as they exploit corn. Pollan’s attempt to refer to corn as an exploiter for humans is a wonderful rhetorical technique for it makes corn look like an enemy. Humans exploit corn by making use of it in the most unbelievable ways. Today, humans are making sweeteners and whiskeys out of corn. As a result, corn exploits humans by becoming their weakness and ruling the industry that humans feed upon. Pollan heavily criticizes the processed food. Pollan says that although we hardly ever realize this, yet we happen to be the true victims. We are the ones who bear the actual cost through the taxes and subsidies. In addition to these costs, we also have to bear the damage caused to the environment by growing this crop. Referring towards the health hazards associated with the immense reliance upon corn as a diet, Pollan compares the epidemic of obesity in the present age with the alcoholism that had surfaced as a national issue in America two centuries ago. Fructose consumption accounts for approximately 11% of the calories in the average American diet and has been linked to many health conditions including obesity, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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