Michael Pollan in 2006, published a work that has to some degree changed the way that people eat, or at the very least attempted to change the way that we think about the food we eat. (Shea 54) Pollan demonstrates through fundamentally modern rhetoric the relationship that people, and more specifically American’s have with food and how very distant we are from it. ("History, Old Favorites in" B08) To some degree Pollan, others like him and internationally challenging food shortages and even worse food born illnesses and scares are changing the way that food is understood with regard to an international and national food traceability and accountability movement. (Popper 365) Pollan challenges the “industrial food chain” looking at ingredients, finished food products and other issues to try to source out the distance between man and his or her food. His investment in the idea goes much further as he explores through rhetoric several scenarios regarding obtaining and cooking meals. Those scenarios including attempting to show American’s a better way, or at least shock us out of our food stupor by first enjoying a meal from McDonalds (sourcing it almost exclusively to corn an overused and bizarre food product and petroleum products), producing a meal from a famous “organic” food retailer, challenging this niche industry. The third meal is a meal made from only items found on a utopian Virginian farm, and then Pollan produces a meal from only foraging. Through all these scenarios he explores, from a very basic standpoint, all the inaccuracies, misrepresentations and challenges that our food industry places on the ethic of living on the earth and sharing it with others. The rhetoric of the work is engaging as the writer brings the reader to a very basic level of view, seeing the pasture from the perspective of the cow, for instance, or simply the exploration itself. The work is actually what one would call a documentary in print as one can see the author traveling around in his International Harvester tractor looking for his next meal and exploring the ethics of each sourced location for it. According to a Washington Post Reviewer, herself a food writer: The book is really three in one: The first section discusses industrial farming; the second, organic food, both as big business and on a relatively small farm; and the third, what it is like to hunt and gather food for oneself. And each section culminates in a meal -- a cheeseburger and fries from McDonald's; roast chicken, vegetables and a salad from Whole Foods; and grilled chicken, corn and a chocolate soufflé (made with fresh eggs) from a sustainable farm; and, finally, mushrooms and pork, foraged from the wild. (Crumpacker BW09) Again Crumpacker reiterates the thematic nature of each rhetorical section of the work, describing the underlying theme of the work as an assault on corn and petroleum products: The first section is a wake-up call for anyone who has ever been hungry. In the United States, Pollan makes clear, we're mostly fed by two things: corn and oil. We may not sit down to bowls of yummy petroleum, but almost everything we eat has used enormous amounts of fossil fuels to get to our tables. Oil products are part of the fertilizers that feed plants, the pesticides that keep insects away from them, the fuels used by the trains and trucks that transport them across the country, and the packaging in which they're wrapped. We're addicted to oil, and we really like to eat. (Crumpacker BW09) Pollan demonstrates with his unique rhetoric, seeking to find the sources of food items and even the logistics that bring them to our tables and follows the logic of a challenging food market. Pathos of the work is demonstrated through the fundamental view of the author, at the level of the cow in the field, the consumer in his or her car eating fast food, the consumer in the Whole Foods market thinking he or she is acting responsibly, the forager in the wild and all the...
Cited: Crumbpacker, Bunny, “You Are What You Eat.” The Washington Post April 9, 2006; BW09.
Dinovella, Elizabeth. "Think Globally, Eat Locally." The Progressive Nov. 2006: 41.
Flannery, Maura C. "Plants in Production." The American Biology Teacher 70.1 (2008): 51.
"Food for Thought; What We Eat, from Source to Table." The Washington Times 30 July 2006: B08.
"Food Really Does Grow on Trees, You Know." Daily Post (Liverpool, England) 1 Feb. 2008: 12.
"History, Old Favorites in Collection of Food Essays." The Washington Times 10 June 2007: B08.
Leppman, Elizabeth J. Changing Rice Bowl: Economic Development and Diet in China. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2005.
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