Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Omnivore's Dilema

Everyone should read this book!

Here's a quote from the last page that kind of encapsulates the whole thing, "But imagine for a moment if we once again knew...these few unremarkable things: What it is we're eating. Where it came from. How it found its way to our table. And what, in a true accounting, it really cost."
It took me exactly 30 days to read this book (411 pages). It was facinating and engrossing. It moved more quickly for me after the first section.

The book is divided into three sections, here is a little of what I learned from each:

Section 1: Corn
We grow a ridiculous amount of corn in this country because the government subsidizes farmers for it.
We eat a lot more corn than we realize and Americans use corn for all sorts of things.
There are 38 ingredients in a McDonalds chicken nugget. Thirty-eight!
Cows are not meant to eat corn, but because it is a rich, cheap source of calories, we feed it to them anyway.
If you are what you eat, Americans are processed corn.

Personal goal:
I am going to start eating only grass-fed beef instead of grain-fed whenever possible.

Section 2: Grass

I learned a lot about organic farming.
Americans don't seem to care where there food comes from, they just want it cheap and not because they couldn't afford to spend a little more on it.
Sustainable farming is facinating.
I seldom notice how unseasonaly we eat these days (lamb in spring, asparagus in winter, etc.).
Great quote:
"For example, if the sixteen million acres now bing used to grow corn to feed cows in the United States became well-managed pasture, that would remove fourteen billion pounds of carbon from the atmosphere each year, the equivalent of taking four million cars off the road."

Personal goal:
Support local farmers, meat producers, etc. (I joined a CSA).

Section 3: The Forest
Facinating section, especially if you like to cook.
Mushroom hunting would be fun to try sometime.

Personal goals:
Eat meat only from humanely treated animals.
Continue buying eggs only from free-range chickens.


Jenny said...

i stumbled across this book on amazon a month or so ago. glad to hear your opinion of it, as i have been thinking about buying it. we are trying to eat smarter at our house. :) good luck w/ your goals. it would be nice to hear how it works out for you. it's not always easy to find food that is "right."

sjmiller said...

Haven't read it yet, but it is on my to read list.

In Russia, they go hunting for mushrooms all the time in the forest. I wasn't able to when I was there (it was winter) but it was something I wanted to do.

Lauren said...

That book sounds pretty interesting. Unfortunately I never have time to read anymore :(

Ted says you will be able to make it out for the wedding! That is so happy!!

Teddy said...

Ah, interesting. As a "green" going girl myself I would make a suggestion. I've been on both side of the debate as a rancher and meat plant owner/worker. Go to a nice local butcher shop that slaughters their own beef and follow a grass fed and a feed lot beef from start to finish and compare the end product. I was SURPRISED at the difference in texture, taste and the end product that I would feed my family. You could say I'm biased, but with my health obsession, I've really explored both worlds. Your local 4-H program also teaches in a user friendly was about animals raised for consumption. It is so healthy and enlightening to be aware of where our food does come from. Can you imagine living in the time where we all had our own small farms and were self sufficient. I love that romantic notion, but am grateful to not live it.