Current Kid Read: The Omnivore’s Dilemma

Our 12-year-old is the only one of our five offspring who is not an avid reader. She reads the books she is assigned for school, with mixed reactions. Every now and again, she’s assigned a book she really enjoys, but most of the time, she grits her way through it. It is a source of angst to me at times, but I’ve learned to accept that there are people born into the world, even born of me, who don’t enjoy reading.

This week, however, she has been more engrossed in and talkative about a book than I have witnessed since she read Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place, which she truly loves. This extraordinary book -in the sense that my kids is captivated by it- is Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Young Readers Edition, which her sister picked up for her as a spontaneous gift.

omnivores dilemma young reader

I’m not sure how she knew 12-year-old would like the book, or if she even knew the book would be such a hit with her, but it has really piqued her interest in myriad ways.

Sitting next to me as I try to recapture my inner student (I recently started taking online classes via Local University.) was this child informing me that we are all basically composed of corn. The first sections of the book assess the expansion of the corn industry and how it affects nearly every food we put into our bodies. Unless of course, we avoid processed foods and make as much as we can from scratch.

Before encountering the book, this child was the least likely of all our children to show much interest in what was in her food so long as it tasted good. This kis has always had trouble dealing with my propensity to have cabinets and a fridge with nothing but healthy fare. Now, she takes the phrase “USDA Organic” with a heaping grain of salt, and is infinitely more curious about where and what kinds of meats I buy when I shop.

Behold the power of books.

4 thoughts on “Current Kid Read: The Omnivore’s Dilemma

  1. Crystal Keller says:

    Wow. This made me laugh just seeing K respond to this book. Further more I’m laughing in Kent’s presence w/o explaining. Driving his curiosity up intensely. Thanks.
    Sent from my iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

  2. smkoseki says:

    And I thought the best part was the Twinkie he kept in his office year after year that never rotted…meaning nothing in microbe nature will eat such processed crap. Scary.

    …corn…affects nearly every food we put into our bodies. Unless of course, we avoid processed foods and make as much as we can from scratch.

    Yep farmed animals are corn/soy fed which make up store bought eggs, milk, meat, factory farmed fish, etc. We are finally 100% wild game/fish but still eat store eggs and cheese so we aren’t corn free. Yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Elspeth says:


    If I made you laugh I consider myself having returned a huge favor. I didn’t know if I could ever reciprocate it.


    Don’t know if we suburbanites will ever be completely corn free. Especially with the labeling shenanigans the USDA and FDA allow.

    She has lots of favorite parts, but is most fascinated by the realizations concerning foods presented to us as healthy. She already knows Twinkies are bad. 95% of any baked goods we eat are baked in this house, anyway.


  4. bikebubba says:

    One other interesting facet of the “omnivore’s dilemma” is the question of what other effects the policy has. For grass fed vs. corn, you’ve got the question of whether the particular ecosystem needs to be grazed to be healthy, whether it matters whether it’s elk, bison, cattle, or whatever doing the grazing, how much “pollutants” are emitted or absorbed by grazing or feedlots, whether you’d end up getting people to starve by shifting to one or the other, etc..

    For my part, a lot of my view has to do with what I see up here in corn country–we’re 40 miles north of Iowa, and I’ve watched the business change since 30 years back watching what my land near Rockford, IL, produced. Used to be rotating corn, wheat, and beans, then it was corn & soybeans, now it’s mostly corn. At the same time, the amount of fertilizer they apply to get up to 200 bushels/acre (about 5 tons/acre) has made a lot of lakes and streams basically unfishable, and the fencerows where young people used to hunt are increasingly gone.

    When the land is plowed, you increasingly see the tan color of soil without much organic matter in it because exposure to oxygen allows it to decompose.

    On the flip side, it turns out that cows raised on grass break wind more than those on a corn feed. Or is that balanced by the breakdown of soil that’s being plowed and intensively tilled? Can’t say as I know the answers, but I do agree that Twinkies are disgusting. Hated ’em even when I was a kid and all I knew was that sweet things that didn’t have chocolate or fruit were the Devil’s evil trick. :^)

    (except for the almond pound cake my kids used to love to make…which, when possible, I’d top with hot fudge and berries, of course)

    Liked by 2 people

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