Monday, 5 May 2008


I have just finished Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma. I know that I am probably the last foodie to have read this important book but I have an excuse. I had meat in the freezer that I was afraid I would not be able to eat after cracking open this book.
I needn't have waited though, although Mr. Pollan's book can be graphic at times it is never unnecessarily explicit or shaming. It is an adventure of one man's first hand research into the food we eat and where it comes from. From industrial agriculture to Big Organic, pasture-raised foods and hunting and gathering. Pollan has an easy going style of delivering facts without making you sleepy. By the end of the book you feel informed and awake and more confident in your shopping decision making.

Unlike when I read Diet for a Small Planet a hundred years ago, I was not scared off of meat entirely. I agree that the planet cannot sustain so many people eating so much meat and like Pollan's attitude of eating meat as a smaller part of the diet. Hubby would be relieved too as he would follow me into vegetarianism, but he would sorely miss the meat.

So what has changed since reading The Omnivore's Dilemma? We have sourced out a local, organic meat shop nearby and are looking into the same for dairy. Not such an easy task in a smaller town but worth the effort. We buy local and organic when we have the option, sometimes you have to choose between the two though, unfortunately. We have become more observant - like when we pick up the apple bags that bear the logo of the local orchard and read the small print - Product of Chile! (I know, I know, apples are out of season and one of the worst crops for pesticides, but Hubby has some strange attachment to them and buys them all year no matter how mealy and waxy and tasteless.)

This year we are going to make an effort to shop at farmers markets and do some preserving and, yes, I did say that last year but this year we will try harder. We do grow some things at home, mostly herbs, hot peppers and tomatoes. I would grow more but I live in the world's tiniest house with minimal space to grow.

What won't change? There are some things I can't live without - olive oil, citrus, pineapples, coffee, bananas - you get the picture. Tread lightly and find a balance that you can live with.