The Omnivore's Dilemma: The Secrets Behind what You Eat by Michael Pollan

(New York: Penguin, 2007), 480

You make the grass grow for the cattle and plants for people's work to bring forth food from the earth

  • The Omnivore's Dilemma: we are omnivores and can eat just about anything, but what should we eat? (100)
  • This book traces four meals:
    • Industrial: food from corn
    • Industrial organic
    • Local sustainable: food from grass
    • Hunting and gathering and gardening
  • After WWII, farming went from being solar powered to being powered by oil, coal, and gas. Used surplus ammonium nitrate from weapons production for agricultural fertilizer. (41)
  • On the industrial farm, it takes about 10 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce one calorie of food energy. (43)
    • Talking about industrial farmers barely scraping by and the unsustainability of the industrial farming system, which seems to be one more example of us living beyond our means and needing to be ready to accept a lower standard of living
  • "Beginning in the early 1970s this system was thrown out the window. Now farm policy was aimed at one thing: keeping corn prices as low as possible." (51, cf. the other event of the early 1970s: August 15, 1971)
  • The corn mill has invented "resistance starch" which can't be digested and is the "ultimate diet food." (90)
  • Most "organic food" comes from industrial organic farms (133)
  • "That handful of compost was proof that when grass can eat sunlight and food animals can eat grass, there is indeed a free lunch." (195)
  • Joel and Daniel Salatin plainly enjoy their work because their type of farming "takes a lot of thought and problem-solving." (195)
  • Before slaughtering chickens: "I felt that if I was going to be a meat eater, the nat least once in my life I should take part in the killing of my food." (203)
  • Wild yeast spores are just floating in the air and you can collect them to make a yeast starter (311)
  • The end of the book has some practical food tips similar to those found in In Defense of Food

Topic: Food

Source: In Defense of Food, Matt B


  • Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (131)
  • Animal Liberation by Peter Singer, "one of those rare books that demands you either defend the way you live or change it." (250)

Created: 2022-05-13-Fri
Updated: 2023-01-07-Sat