The Omnivore’s Dilemma–everyone else has read it, you should too!
Following a link from The Green Phone Booth, I was dismayed to read that, according to the Arduous Blog, Michael Pollan has become “so last year.” Which bums me out, because as usually I’m late onto the style train, even in the Green Universe–I never got around to doing my blog post about his catalytic thriller, The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
Okay, “thriller” might be pushing it a bit…but hey, it’s got blood, gore, premeditated chicken-killing, mysteries, conspiracies, corruption, battles to the death, poisonous mushrooms, pigs in poop, and butane-sprayed McNuggets all between its covers. “Catalytic”–not hyperbole at all. This, IMO, is the book that placed the lever in exactly the right spot to begin moving the whole what-the-hell-are-we-eating-anyway movement from the crunchy fringe into a much more mainstream (by which I mean Not Just Populated By Perceived Weirdos) (by which I mean, populated by me and people I like and respect, though some people probably think I’m pretty strange) place in our national dialogue.
In this book, Pollan traces four meals from their absolute inception to his plate–a fast food meal, a Whole Foods organic meal, a locally farmed meal using completely sustainable practices, and a meal he hunted/gathered himself. I confess he lost me at the “I want to learn to hunt wild boar” final section, but the first three were utterly fascinating, enlightening, and were definitely the lever that got my rear end into gear to start paying attention to what my family eats and where it comes from. (The fast food section of the book is terrifying; my children now have to beg their father for a Happy Meal if they want to experience that nummy crunchy chicken-parts goodness again, because knowing what’s actually in the McNuggets turns my stomach.)
I don’t really see him as “last year”–like the Stones, he’ll be around for a while, I suspect. After a while we’ll all say, “damn, he’s getting old.” And then we’ll listen for a few minutes, and say, “but damn, he can still rock.”