Omnivore

After having read part I of Michael Pollen’s book these chapters give us a view of the beginning of the step by step process of food from the farmlands to the dinner table. Instead of the question “What’s for dinner? “, it would seem more like “What’s in the dinner? “. Pollen takes us on a Journey through the fields in Iowa and concludes with a trip to analyze meal he shared with his family at a local McDonald’s.

He allows us to take a look inside of the process by which corn is used in a numbers of ways corn is used other that as a food source. By the end of part l, there is a better understanding of how corn can be used as not only a food source, but as fuel, sweetener, alcohol, as well as a chemical for explosive devices. Pollen visits a farm in Iowa and gives a very detailed view on the process by which corn is farm through the fields, processed through the grain elevator plant not far from the corn fields.

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He also explains the introduction to the topic of industrial corn and its origins some hundreds of thousands of years ago. Pollen goes on to explain how farmers must increase the amount of corn that is planted in order survive money loss in the process, guaranteeing a harvest for the following year. In addition to his view of the process by which corn is harvested and processed for use other that food, Pollen pays a visit to Pokey Feeders cattle farm in Kansas where the cows are feed processed corn to help them become larger.

The fiestas of these animals is cut short because they are now being feed a food that naturally is not a part of their nature (grass). To prevent them from getting sick, the cows are being given antibiotics that are eventually passed onto the meat that is consumed by the buyer. The increased demand for the meats of these animals has led farmers to mass breed cows at an alarming rate, placing consumers at risk for the threat of disease ( E. Coli 01 57:HE). Pollen’s description of fast food was definitely a shocker.

He talks about all the synthetic food additives that put into fast food the give hem their color, texture and taste. It is scary to imagine that so many chemicals (Ex. TPTB) can be used to make something that so many people find tasty. When a McDonald meal is broken down, it seems almost unheard of that anyone would eat this separate on its own. Pollen voices his concern on how so much energy is wasted on creating these meals, the tens of thousands of corn calories being consumed that could have been used for other food purposes to feed so many hungry people. The first part of this book was definitely an eye-opener.

Pollen’s book allows us to take a second look at the way a lot of people get their food. We are given a better idea on how food is grown in its natural state, the industrial process by which food is treated with chemicals, how these chemicals may become a part of the product itself to stimulate growth, and how this chemicals may eventually find their way to our dinner plates. After reading this first part, this book can make anyone want to diversify their diet by eating more game meat, growing their own food and living off of the land. Wouldn’t that be great?

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