Sunday, May 18, 2008


I'm a fan of irony.

I can sit through an entire movie that is supposed to be a comedy without cracking a smile, but unexpected irony makes me laugh out loud.

When I opened up a package a few days ago, I certainly was not expecting to see this.


My doctor recently asked me to read the book The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan and let her know my thoughts from an agricultural perspective. I was slightly embarrassed that I had not yet read the book. It was published in April of 2006. Everyone else in the world has read it. It is logical to think that I, being a farmer's wife and an avid reader, would have picked it up.

For some reason, I had not. In fact, I have never read anything written by Michael Pollan. Or Barbara Kingsolver. Or anyone else besides the authors of autism behavioral technique manuals or parenting books.

In 2006, I was busy making Pooh Bear cakes and figuring out what had caused that rash on my three-year-old's cheeks.

I was nursing a baby. Frequently, by the looks of those cheeks.

I was sending my little girl off to kindergarten and admitting to myself that I must relinquish control over the wardrobe choices of my third-grade son.

I was not up to any kind of book with a title that included the word "dilemma." I had enough dilemmas of my own.

Now that my baby is (mostly) sleeping through the night, the birthdays are over until October, and my brain is almost fully functional again, I thought I would tackle Pollan's work, so I ordered it. While I haven't yet read it, I know that a basic premise of the book is that McDonald's food is not terribly healthy.

That's why I laughed out loud when, upon opening the package, I found a coupon for a free McDonald's sandwich on top of the book.

Pure irony.

And, knowing me, I'll probably read the book and then use the coupon anyway.


Julia in Sweden said...

I haven't read it either :D In fact, I've never even heard of it. Let me know if it's any good.
Take care!

farmnwife said...

I have read the book. It is about how pure evil corn and corn products are. It is unquestionably bias. He includes info that supports his view and leaves out anything else. Other than that it is pretty dry reading.

Bill Harshaw said...

I'll be interested to see your reaction.

Julia--Pollan is one of the few people I can think of (the other being a political candidate named Obama) who has had books in the top ten bestseller list for both hardbound and paperback at the same time. (His new one is "In Defense of Food" with the mantra: "Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much." "Food" is what your great grandmother would recognize as food.)

Jenny said...

And you couldn't find time to read one little ol' book? LOL! I'm trying to REMEMBER the last real book I read that wasn't off my childrens' shelves.

BTW, I HAVE tried the new McDs sandwich, and it's not too bad. Our McDs had a promotion on it last week on the day we happened to go on a school field trip. So all the kids got happymeals and teachers and parents got a free southern fried chicken sandwich with the purchase of a medium coke. Nothing special, needs something besides dry bread and pickles (which I picked off because I hate pickles). Was a change from the usual burger I get. But I'll probably go back to my usual unhealthy burger.

April said...

You are right, that is the perfect kind of irony that needs a good laugh! Too fun!

Don't feel bad, I had never heard of that book before either!

Brad Bergum said...

I think that's the book my wife (a San Francisco native -- not a farm girl by any stretch ... yet) has been reading and keeps talking to me about. The way she describes it, it might actually be quite interesting. She seems to have pulled a basic understanding of some of the consequences of government farm policies (as with all government policies, they are generally riddled with the problems of unintended negative consequences) and the economic implications of the corn industry from it, and she seems to sound relatively informed as she repeats it to me, so the book might be interesting. It's about fifty down on the my reading list right now, I guess.

Great site, Erin. I'd like to link to it from the Winifred site, if you don't mind.

Andrea said...

I haven't read it and if it makes you feel any better I have never heard of it. I bet my sisters have read it, they are all worried about that hyfroctose (sp?) corn stuff, but ya know, life ain't life unless you are livin right? :) Maybe that is why I have not heard of that book, let me know how it is!

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

I've never heard of the author or the book. Don't feel bad!

Jen said...

I'm headed to the library the next time I'm in town. I read "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser and watched "Super Size Me" by Morgan Spurlock and even though we still frequent fast food chains *Mike's favorite is BK* these are always in the back of my mind.

We farm organically with corn, soybeans, small grains & alfalfa being our main incomes and usually our corn going food grade I HATE the fact that high fructose corn syrup is in EVERYTHING! It's not a necessary nutrient, it's not even a nutrient, it's a cheap alternative to sugar but our bodies are smart and know it didn't get real sugar so the body still craves the real stuff. I agree I think it contributes to the rate of obesity and Type II diabetes in this country. I'm going to get off my soapbox now but I am definitely going to check out this book.

MrsBurns said...

Just found you today via Amy's comments. I'll be checking back on you....your writing is worthwhile!

I liked Pollan's book. We also farm, but on a small scale and with a steep learning curve. I learned a lot from the first section, enjoyed reading the Salatin section, and totally blew thru the last section where Pollan shows what a city boy he is while hunting/foraging for a meal. Not much to learn there.

But all that stuff about corn was quite enlightening, and while I was already avoiding High Fructose Corn Syrup, I go to greater lengths now than before.

DayPhoto said...

I will be interested in your comments, since some of us who read your blog are farmers, and some of us do raise corn (not sweet corn), and we do eat meat, and we do cook from the garden....Well I would be very interested in an essay on your thoughts about this very popular book.


Linda Gay

Jessica said...

So have you started it yet?

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