BOOKS AND LECTURES

Brown Bag Book Club at the Cobscook Community Learning Center

Posted Aug. 27, 2013, at 1:04 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 28, 2013, at 1:53 p.m.
The Omnivore's Dilemma
The Omnivore's Dilemma

Wednesday, September 4 to Wednesday, September 25, 2013; 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Location: Cobscook Community Learning Center, 10 Commissary Point Rd, Trescott, Maine

Contact: Valerie Lawson; 207-733-2233

Website: cclc.me

The Cobscook Community Learning Center announces the start of the Brown Bag Book Club, a mid-day gathering of book lovers, on Wednesdays, September 4, 11, 18 & 25, 12:00-1:00pm. This program is being held in conjunction with a series of food and food systems related events in Washington County, a project created by students at the University of Maine at Machias.

The Brown Bag Book Club will explore The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by best-selling author Michael Pollan. What should we have for dinner— this question has confronted us since man discovered fire, but according to Michael Pollan, the bestselling author of The Botany of Desire, how we answer it today, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, may well determine our very survival as a species. Should we eat a fast-food hamburger? Something organic? Or perhaps something we hunt, gather, or grow ourselves? The omnivore’s dilemma has returned with a vengeance, as the cornucopia of the modern American supermarket and fast-food outlet confronts us with a bewildering and treacherous food landscape. What’s at stake in our eating choices is not only our own and our children’s health, but the health of the environment that sustains life on earth.

In this groundbreaking book, one of America’s most fascinating, original, and elegant writers turns his own omnivorous mind to the seemingly straightforward question of what we should have for dinner. To find out, Pollan follows each of the food chains that sustain us—industrial food, organic or alternative food, and food we forage ourselves—from the source to a final meal, and in the process develops a definitive account of the American way of eating. His absorbing narrative takes us from Iowa cornfields to food-science laboratories, from feedlots and fast-food restaurants to organic farms and hunting grounds, always emphasizing our dynamic coevolutionary relationship with the handful of plant and animal species we depend on. Each time Pollan sits down to a meal, he deploys his unique blend of personal and investigative journalism to trace the origins of everything consumed, revealing what we unwittingly ingest and explaining how our taste for particular foods and flavors reflects our evolutionary inheritance.

The surprising answers Pollan offers to the simple question posed by this book have profound political, economic, psychological, and even moral implications for all of us. Beautifully written and thrillingly argued, The Omnivore’s Dilemma promises to change the way we think about the politics and pleasure of eating. For anyone who reads it, dinner will never again look, or taste, quite the same.

For the past twenty-five years, Michael Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where nature and culture intersect: on our plates, in our farms and gardens, and in the built environment. He is the author the forthcoming book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (available April 23, 2013) and of four New York Times bestsellers: Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (2010); In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (2008); The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006) and The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World (2001). The Omnivore’s Dilemma was named one of the ten best books of 2006 by both the New York Times and the Washington Post. It also won the California Book Award, the Northern California Book Award, the James Beard Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. A young readers edition called The Omnivore’s Dilemma: the Secrets Behind What You Eat was published in 2009.

Participants should have read or have access to a copy of The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. To register, call the CCLC: 733-2233. Cost: $20 suggested donation. Participants are asked to please bring their own lunch. The Cobscook Community Learning Center is located at 10 Commissary Point Rd, Trescott. For up to date course and event listings, visit our website: www.cclc.me. For more information about the Washington County Food & Community program, visit:

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