2011 The Omnivore’s Dilemma (Michael Pollan)

The Honors College is particularly excited about the 2011 Honors Read because o f its practical and intellectual approach to an everyday thing—food.  Even if Michael Pollan doesn’t change the way we choose to eat, the implications of his food saga are sure to be extremely thought provoking.  The Honors College is confident that the Class of 2015 will enthusiastically sink their teeth into The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

Excerpts from the letter of transmittal written by the students who chose the text:

Your Honors Read, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, is a book about food, but more importantly it is a book that looks at what we eat, where it comes from, and how little most Americans consider these things. The book examines the human race in light of our ecological impact on the earth through our eating habits.  In line with Honors College tradition, this text is passed along to you by our class of eight honors students; it was chosen based on a set of criteria we generated for the ideal Honors Read. We find it to be intellectually “chewy” (you get the idea), relevant to both the human experience and today’s Honors student, well written, and it addresses universal themes along with creating avenues for discussion.

The next time you open a bottle of soda or peel a banana, take a moment to ask yourself where this product came from and how it was made. You may be surprised to learn that, most of the time, the answer will basically be corn, corn, and more corn. Within a relatively short time, our society has transformed from local farms to industrialized plants capable of producing food on a scale once unimaginable. But at what cost?  As you read The Omnivore’s Dilemma, try not to fall into the trap of thinking just about food processing. Instead, consider the social structure that has caused most of us to become so detached from something so elementally human: the act of eating. What are the costs and benefits of this system?