Monday, July 07, 2008

What are you eating

I've been reading the Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan and last week, I hit the last chapter. I savored it like a good meal, pouring myself a glass of wine at noon on a Sunday and found a comfy seat on our sofa to enjoy the final crumbs of the book. The words swished about in my mind as my eyes enjoyed each letter. I didn't want this book to end.

The book, which covers the stories around 4 different meals, accompanied me through many evenings and lunches the last few weeks. I love to eat, I love to cook, and I love talking about food. Pollan's conversational style lends well to engaging readers in its conversations on food and often sparks discussions outside of the book. This book in particular lead to many intriguing talks with Italian, with knitters on Ravelry, with co-workers here, with co-workers in California, and with knitters in my local knitting group. I had a community of people who shared an interest in food and in knowing from where it comes, who had either heard of the book or were reading it themselves. It was an instant conversation starter and a community builder, and I didn't want it to end.

While finishing the final chapter, I thought of how this one little book impacted my life and in turn, the life of my family. I've replaced the BPA plastic bottles in my house with either BPA free plastic or with metal bottles. Another like minded friend forwarded a link to a local farm, and I've ordered a quarter of a pasture raised grass fed cow. I've found a source of Kosher chicken while I hunt out organic or local chicken, and Italian and I have started talking about having a little garden of our own next season.

Pollan does an excellent job of balancing out the 4 different types of meals. He doesn't leave you wanting to be a vegetarian or swearing off processed foods forever. Instead, he thinks people should know what they are eating and what the total cost of the food is, not just the price on the barcode label.

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