Reviews of Reviews

What we eat, why, and where it really comes from

Dinner is such a conundrum. Cook or order? Fast or slow? Lean or indulgent? Once the problem has been dispatched and the dishes dried, the questions return, with alarming regularity. I thought it was just me. But now that I’ve cleared time from my heavy schedule of fretting and shopping and cooking to read Michael

A long, strange trip down the food chain

Michael Pollan is a magician. In his previous book, “The Botany of Desire,” he turned apples and potatoes into a best-seller. Now he turns corn and cows, pigs and chickens into a brilliant, eye-opening account of how we produce, market and agonize over what we eat. If you ever thought “what’s for dinner” was a

Eating Blind

AFTER READING “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” I went out to dinner at a bistro in Greenwich Village, where I faced some dilemmas of my own. The waiter brought over the menu. Steak? Too much to worry about: hormones, antibiotics, E. coli and mad-cow disease. Tuna? Mercury. Salmon? PCBs. Chicken? Could be one of the brands treated

Let’s Make a Meal

Channeling the modern middle-class shopper wandering vast supermarket aisles, Pollan asks: “The organic apple or the conventional? And if organic, the local or the imported? The wild fish or the farmed? The transfats or the butter or the ‘not butter’? Shall I be a carnivore or a vegetarian? And if a vegetarian, a lacto-vegetarian or

You Are What You Eat

Most of us are at a great distance from our food. I don’t mean that we live “twelve miles from a lemon,” as English wit Sydney Smith said about a home in Yorkshire. I mean that our food bears little resemblance to its natural substance. Hamburger never mooed; spaghetti grows on the pasta tree; baby

Anatomy of a Meal

That we are living beings who must, to continue living, physically consume other living organisms, is one of the most fundamental facts about our lives. If, as a matter of habit, comfort and self-protection, we allow ourselves to remain less than fully conscious of the biological origins of our food, and of the nature of

The Omnivore’s Dilemma

MICHAEL POLLAN has perfected a tone — one of gleeful irony and barely suppressed outrage — and a way of inserting himself into a narrative so that a subject comes alive through what he’s feeling and thinking. He is a master at drawing back to reveal the greater issues. At one point in his new

Shooting a Pig

intelligently gory.

Seconds, Anyone?

We're clueless. In The Omnivore's Dilemma he tries to cut through this fog of unknowing.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

Pollan isn't preachy: he's too thoughtful a writer, and too dogged a researcher, to let ideology take over. He's also funny and adventurous. He bounces around on an old International Harvester tractor, gets down on his belly to examine a pasture from a cow's-eye view, shoots a wild pig and otherwise throws himself into the making of his meals.