he Omnivore’s Dilemma
In the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan challenges his readers to examine their food and question themselves about the things they consume. Have we ever considered where our food comes from or stopped to think about the process that goes into the food that we purchase to eat every day? Do we know whether our meat and vegetables picked out were raised in our local farms or transported from another country? Michael pollen addresses the reality of what really goes beyond the food we intake and how our lives are affected. He does not just compel us to question the food we consume, but also the food our “food” consumes.
Pollen discusses the aspects of a popular fast food chain, McDonalds. To sum up the substance of the ingredients shortly, corn. He asked a friend to run the contents of his meal through a mass spectrometer and found that the amount of corn contained in them were “soda (100 percent corn), milk shake (78 percent), salad dressing (65 percent), chicken nuggets (56 percent), cheeseburger (52 percent), and French fries (23 percent)” (Pollen 117). Despite knowing this, the likeliness of anyone, more specifically me, to halt eating this completely is improbable. Because of this Pollen, describes the ones eating this industrial food as “corn’s koala” (Pollen 117). In addition, another “alarming ingredient in a Chicken McNugget is tertiary butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ” (Pollen 113) which is found in either the nugget itself or the box one is given the nuggets in. TBHQ is also a form of butane and if even five grams ingested would be enough to kill you. It is surprising to believe that hints of lighter fluid is found on such a deliciously corn induced, chicken nugget. However, the TBHQ found on a McNugget cannot comprise more than 0.02 percent of the oil, so I suppose we have that going for us.
The neutrality of the book is fascinating because Pollen does not try to convince one to turn into an all-organic health, freak, nor is he persuading you to stray from fast food chains. Instead he informs you the opportunity costs of your choices. He options out whether you would like to buy a fourteen dollar meal that feeds a family in the time span of four minutes; as well, he gives you the choice a cooking an all organic, grown, and gathered meal for the family, that he would consider to be “slow-food”. Pollen brings to mind a common quote stating how we can know what good is if we do not know evil. Likewise, how can we appreciate food if not for the speedy chain restaurants? “Neither slow nor fast, just food… plant or… animal… prepared this way or that” (Pollen 411). Families once bonded over a meal and the work that was put into achieving the dinner, but if every meal came from ordering some fast food, part of a culture is lost.
The readers are challenged to think about how much we care for the quality of our food....