A Reader's Feast
It’s disheartening to learn, for example, that the organic food business has come to mirror its industrial counterpart. Organic milk may be free of growth hormone, but the cows that produce it are rarely treated any better than their counterparts in non-organic dairies.
There are exceptions, of course. Pollan describes a farm in rural Virginia, where emphasis is put on cyclical, symbiotic land use practices. The farmer calls his operation "beyond organic" – a term that arose from widespread misgivings about the much-compromised "organic" label. At the Polyface Farm, cows graze on a schedule that is optimal for the grass, on which the cows ultimately depend. Hens enter the pasture a few days after the cows and eat the grubs and larvae that grow in the dung. Not only do the hens get a meal, but their activity helps break down the manure and minimize the bug problem on the farm, which helps stave off disease.
Pollan’s ‘last supper’ is the most extreme: He attempts to hunt, grow and forage all the ingredients of a meal – a mission that involves boar hunting in Northern California. Upon killing his quarry, Pollans emotions run the course from primal fulfillment to sympathetic remorse. He is fully involved in his food.
Since reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma" I've found myself pausing to reflect before chomping down whatever i'm about to put in my mouth. Whatever else I got out of the book, it has made me a more conscious eater.