You know how when you eat too much of one food and for months afterwards you don’t go near it, no matter how it is prepared? Maybe because you got sick after or you felt so full that it felt as if the food was rising up your esophagus. Whatever it was that turned you off to the food, I am now feeling that way about corn. While reading the first part of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” I thought that Michael Pollan might eventually move on to a larger issue other than circling around corn, but come to find out, corn is that larger issue.
These one hundred or so pages made me absolutely disgusted with the way that our country runs its food production. To me this is a prime example of how we as humans, but in this case Americans, are only worried about getting calories and food that is pleasing to our taste buds rather than worrying about eating whole foods, that have not been through a chemical process.
“The first rough breakdown of all the corn begins with the subdivision of the kernel itself: Its yellow skin will be processed into various vitamins and nutritional supplements; the tiny germ (the dark part nearest to the cob, which holds the embryo of the potential future corn plant) will be crushed for its oil; and the biggest part, the endosperm, will be plundered for its rich cache of complex carbohydrates” (86).
I don’t know about you, but this sounded like corn was getting a huge plastic surgery operation done. The way that it was dissected and changed “for the better” was frightening. I just want corn! Not a chemically processed, divided, enhanced, improved, refined, more appealing food, I want food to be in its original form. Is that too much to ask for? It seems like it is when almost everything I consume can be traced back to corn in one way or another. I don’t want to be on a diet based around corn. I don’t know what turns me off from the idea so much, but I feel like this is not good for the body and does not constitute a well-rounded diet.
Pollan does a really nice job presenting the facts rather than making it all about his opinions. I appreciate that he included his McDonald’s experience with his family to drive the point home. Not only are fast food joints on issue with obesity as he points out how he and his family consumed 4,510 calories in just one meal, but how much of the meal and menu was made up of corn. One 4 oz. burger translates to two pounds of corn. TWO POUNDS! That is a whole lot of corn for a tiny burger that was one part of his overall consumption for the day.
Being omnivores, we have a choice of food that we eat every single day. But after reading this section of the book doesn’t make me feel like we are omnivores, but corn-nivores solely. And that is repulsive.