The bestselling author of The Botany of Desire explores the ecology of eating to unveil why we consume what we consume in the twenty-first century "What should we have for dinner?" To one degree or another this simple question assails any creature faced with a wide choice of things to... read more
“When you look at the isotope ratios... we North Americans look like corn chips with legs.”
“In many ways, breakfast food: four cents' worth of commodity corn (or some other equally cheap grain) transformed into four dollars worth of processed food. What an alchemy!”
“Researchers have found that people (and animals) presented with large portions will eat up to 30 percent more than they would otherwise. ... Our bodies are storing reserves of fat against a famine that never comes.”
“Some time later I found another way to calculate just how much corn we had eaten that day. I asked Todd Dawson, a biologist at Berkely, to run a McDonald's meal through his mass spectrometer and calculate how much of the carbon in it came originally from a corn plant...the atomic signature of those carbon isotopes is indestructible, and still legible to the mass spectrometer.... soda (100 percent), milk shake (78 percent), salad dressing (65 percent), chicken nuggets (56 percent), cheeseburger (52 percent), and french fries (23 percent).”
“The more you concentrate on how it tastes, the less like anything it tastes. ... And so it goes, bite after bite, until you feel not satisfied exactly, but simply, regrettably, full.”
“We are not only what we eat, but how we eat, too.”
Yet this corn-fed meat is demonstrably less healthy for us, since it contains more saturated fat and less omega-3 fatty acids than the meat of animals fed grass. A growing body of research suggests that many of the health problems associated with eating beef are really problems with corn-fed beef.Highlighted by 628 Kindle customers
There are some forty-five thousand items in the average American supermarket and more than a quarter of them now contain corn.Highlighted by 564 Kindle customers
(One-fifth of America’s petroleum consumption goes to producing and transporting our food.)Highlighted by 538 Kindle customers
When you add together the natural gas in the fertilizer to the fossil fuels it takes to make the pesticides, drive the tractors, and harvest, dry, and transport the corn, you find that every bushel of industrial corn requires the equivalent of between a quarter and a third of a gallon of oil to grow it—or around fifty gallons of oil per acre of corn. (Some estimates are much higher.) Put another way, it takes more than a calorie of fossil fuel energy to produce a calorie of food;Highlighted by 524 Kindle customers
Very simply, we subsidize high-fructose corn syrup in this country, but not carrots. While the surgeon general is raising alarms over the epidemic of obesity, the president is signing farm bills designed to keep the river of cheap corn flowing, guaranteeing that the cheapest calories in the supermarket will continue to be the unhealthiest.Highlighted by 464 Kindle customers
The food industry burns nearly a fifth of all the petroleum consumed in the United States (about as much as automobiles do). Today it takes between seven and ten calories of fossil fuel energy to deliver one calorie of food energy to an American plate.Highlighted by 457 Kindle customers
Wet milling is an energy-intensive way to make food; for every calorie of processed food it produces, another ten calories of fossil fuel energy are burned.Highlighted by 454 Kindle customers
Most of the antibiotics sold in America today end up in animal feed, a practice that, it is now generally acknowledged (except in agriculture), is leading directly to the evolution of new antibiotic-resistant superbugs.Highlighted by 429 Kindle customers
The United Nations reported that in 2000 the number of people suffering from overnutrition—a billion—had officially surpassed the number suffering from malnutrition—800 million.Highlighted by 424 Kindle customers
Eatwild.com, a site that promotes the benefits of pastured meat and dairy, is another route by which consumers find their way to Polyface. “It’s never been easier for people to opt out.”Highlighted by 242 Kindle customers
Introduction: Our National Eating Disorder
I Industrial Corn
Chapter 1 - The Plant: Corn's Conquest
Chapter 2 - The Farm
Chapter 3 - The Elevator
Chapter 4 - The Feedlot: Making Meat
Chapter 5 - The Processing Plant: Making Complex Foods
Chapter 6 - The Consumer: A Republic of Fat
Chapter 7 - The Meal: Fast Food
II Pastoral Grass
Chapter 8 - All Flesh is Grass
Chapter 9 - Big Organic
Chapter 10 - Grass: Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Pasture
Chapter 11 - The Animals: Practicing Complexity
Chapter 12 - Slaughter: In a Glass Abattoir
Chapter 13 - The Market: "Greetings from the Non-Barcode People"
Chapter 14 - The Meal: Grass-Fed
III Personal The Forest
Chapter 15 - The Forager
Chapter 16 - The Omnivore's Dilmena
Chapter 17 - The Ethics of Eating Animals
"Forego" for "forgo" (page 311: "...we could choose to forego meat for moral reasons...").
"Forbear" for "forebear" (page 339: "...their domestic forbears...").
"Prosciutto" spelled with transposed vowels ("proscuitto") in at least two references (page 345 and page 353).
"Blanche" (a woman's name) for "blanch" (a cooking technique) and "kneed" (assaulted with a knee, past tense) for "knead" (manipulate bread dough, present tense), both on page 402.
We’re hiding the movie connections and books that influenced this book sections. If you would like to add content to them, you must first make them visible.