Quickly now, so the finished book doesn’t languish in one of my slippery piles under my desk, a post about Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma.
I have two words for you: READ IT.
I am admittedly, the kind of person who buys ten copies of a new favorite book to give to everybody at Christmas (blogging is much more cost-effective), but this book – I have to find a new way to gush – is not only entertainingly written and meticulously researched (the guy teaches journalism at UC Berkeley), but it also tells you loads of information you feel you should have already known. LOADS.
Pollan follows four meals (his own – not too much preaching here, as he starts with by eating at McDonald’s) backwards to whence they came. The first meal is the quintessential fast food meal for four, eaten while hurtling down the freeway; the second is corporate organic; the third is grassfed organic (hurray for Polyface Farms!); and the last is one entirely hunted, foraged, and grown by Pollan himself.
And all so well-written that it reads like a fiction mystery thriller. And you don’t have to be a foodie to enjoy this kind of fiction, although it helps if the fact that they are eating terrine of lobster and halibut en gelee while out hunting for wild pig makes you smile.
Aside from the one tedious (but, I agree, necessary) chapter on the ethics of eating animals (and again, so satisfyingly well- researched: he goes straight to the granddaddies of animal activists), each chapter is more riveting than the one that precedes it. I mean this guy hunts down and shoots a wild (big!) boar right here in California, and he’d never shot a gun before researching writing this book. He tells me everything about hunting I’d ever wanted to know, from the perspective of a guy who didn’t think he’d ever be a hunter.
A few nuggets I pulled from this book:
My CSA basket is the best thing I do. Fast food is one of the worst. Corporate organic and even shopping at Whole Foods is not really all that. If I’m going to eat meat, I need to look for grass-fed beef. I want to visit Polyface Farms next time I’m on the East Coast.
P.S. My post title is from Angelo, Pollan’s wild food mentor – it’s what Angelo says when Pollan bags his first wild pig.