About two weeks into reading the book I had a dream that I was in a grocery store staring at a case of frozen chickens paralyzed over the decision between the standard chicken and the $4/lb more expensive organic free range version. In the dream I was so agitated that I started arguing with other customers and must have lingered in the meat aisle for days on end. Dream Brianna was obsessed with determining if the free range organic super powered chicken led a slightly less tortured life than boring old conventional chicken but, of course, could not determine this based on any of the information being offered by the packaging. This proves that my dream self is much more tortured and annoying than the waking Brianna – all of you should count yourselves lucky. (This also proves that my subconscious is ridiculously lazy when it comes to putting together interesting dream scenarios. Frankly, I think I’m getting screwed. This dream took up valuable time that could have been spent listening to Jack White sing a love song he wrote just for me while Rhett Miller feeds me spoonful after spoonful of premium ice cream. But back to food politics -- talk like that might keep all of my new readers coming back and I’m working pretty hard at scaring them away with a long boring diatribe.) In real life I am not so troubled as to attack other shoppers over the organic vs. local vs. conventional food choices that I make everyday but The Omnivore’s Dilemma has certainly further complicated the already stressful task of feeding myself.
Pollan’s research into the world of industrial organic food confirms many of my fears about the organic food industry. Despite what marketing claims much of the organic food on the market is only marginally “better” than most conventional options. The truth is that very very little of the
The “best” food conclusion Pollen comes to is that local food from a reputable farmer is probably the healthiest choice for your body, the bodies of farm workers and the planet in general. The chapter about Polyface Farm in
I grew up in a family of hunters but Pollan was the first person to ever inspire in me a small desire to kill and eat an animal. I know that some of my vegetarian readers might now be wondering if I’m famous enough to warrant a PETA assault on my character (sadly, probably not) but I urge everyone to hear me out. I eat meat. I don’t really have problems with eating meat. I do however have a beef with the meat industry in this country (let’s hear it for bad puns!). So hunting offers the cleanest opportunity for procuring meat and I feel a little of that, “if you can eat it you should be able to kill it,” lefty carnivore guilt. The hunting chapter also reminded me of something my father once said during a conversation about a couple of friends who had gone vegan. The desire to completely remove oneself from the food chain seems to imply a want to further distance humans from the wild. Similarly it is somehow considered morally questionable to humanly kill a wild animal that has had a chance to live a healthy life but morally clean to buy packaged hamburger that likely originated at a factory farm where the animal lived and died in dismal conditions. (Though it seems possible that looking down on hunters is as much related to social hierarchy as to society’s feelings on killing animals).
The book also has me curious about mushrooms to the point of obsession. Until today I hadn’t been successful in locating any possibilities for wild mushroom hunting in the
About a year ago I started feeling better about the