Many members and friends of Slow Food count The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan as one of their favorite food-related books. A member of the Slow Food USA advisory board and a frequent commentator on issues related to food production and food quality, Pollan’s books and articles have been a wake-up call and a source of inspiration.
We’re therefore pleased to alert you to Pollan’s latest book, In Defense of Food. Subtitled “An Eater’s Manifesto,” the work expands on many of the points Pollan raised in his New York Times article, “Unhappy Meals,” published in January 2007.
As Pollan notes in his introduction:
Most of my suggestions come down to strategies for escaping the Western diet, but before the resurgence of farmers’ markets, the rise of the organic movement, and the renaissance of local agriculture now under way across the country, stepping outside the conventional food system simply was not a realistic option for most people. Now it is. We are entering a postindustrial era of food; for the first time in a generation it is possible to leave behind the Western diet without having also to leave behind civilization. And the more eaters who vote with their forks for a different kind of food, the more commonplace and accessible such food will become. Among other things, this book is an eater’s manifesto, an invitation to join the movement that is renovating our food system in the name of health—health in the very broadest sense of that word.
I doubt the last third of this book could have been written forty years ago, if only because there would have been no way to eat the way I propose without going back to the land and growing all your own food. It would have been the manifesto of a crackpot. There was really only one kind of food on the national menu, and that was whatever industry and nutritionism happened to be serving. Not anymore. Eaters have real choices now, and those choices have real consequences, for our health and the health of the land and the health of our food culture—all of which, as we will see, are inextricably linked.
You can read the introduction on Michael Pollan’s website. You might also be interested in the following reviews, which offer not only praise but opinions about the influence and importance of Pollan’s message:
++ “The Jury is In” by Bonnie Powell on The Ethicurean;
++ “Obsessed with Nutrition? That’s an Eating Disorder” by Janet Maslin in The New York Times;
++ “What Would Michael Pollan Eat?” by Carol Ness in the San Francisco Chronicle (an interesting article about what’s next on Pollan’s writing horizon, how his emergence as a food movement leader has made him uncomfortable at times, and yes, what he eats);
++ “The Holy Church of Food” by Laura Shapiro for Slate.com; and
++ Susan Salter Reynolds’ review for the Los Angeles Times.