The Omnivore’s Dilemma

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One of the New York Times Book Review's Ten Best Books of the Year Winner of the James Beard Award Author of #1 New York Times Bestsellers In Defense of Food and Food Rules Today, buffeted by one food fad after another, America is suffering from what can only be described as a national eating disorder. Will it be fast food tonight, or something organic? Or perhaps something we grew ourselves? The question of what to have for dinner has confronted us since man discovered fire. But as Michael Pollan explains in this revolutionary book, how we answer it now, as the dawn of the twenty-first century, may determine our survival as a species. Packed with profound surprises, The Omnivore's Dilemma is changing the way Americans thing about the politics, perils, and pleasures of eating. "Thoughtful, engrossing ... You're not likely to get a better explanation of exactly where your food comes from." -The New York Times Book Review "An eater's manifesto ... [Pollan's] cause is just, his thinking is clear, and his writing is compelling. Be careful of your dinner!" -The Washington Post "Outstanding... a wide-ranging invitation to think through the moral ramifications of our eating habits." --The New Yorker "If you ever thought 'what's for dinner' was a simple question, you'll change your mind after reading Pollan's searing indictment of today's food industry-and his glimpse of some inspiring alternatives.... I just loved this book so much I didn't want it to end." -The Seattle Times Michael Pollan’s newest book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation--the story of our most trusted food expert’s culinary education--was published by The Penguin Press in April 2013.
Curriculet Details
152 Questions
153 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This informational text includes questions and annotations covering Common Core requirements for grades 11-12. Video, image, and text annotations give context to the political and ecological issues brought up in Pollan's work. Questions cover writing style, diction, comprehension and making connections, among other things.

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INTRODUCTION: Our National Eating Disorder

A 'sea change' is a notable transformation. According to the Oxford English dictionary, the term was first used in William Shakespeare's 'The Tempest.' 
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According to Pollan, what is one of the contributing factors to America's national 'eating disorder'? 
There are also drawbacks to having such a limited diet.  (This annotation contains a link)
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What type of figurative language is "the cornucopia of the American supermarket" an example of? 
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How have eating manners and rituals changed even in the last fifty years? Consider where we eat, and with whom among other things. 
Pollan lays out the thesis, or purpose, of this book. Keep this in mind as you read, as well as the methods he uses to support his premise. 
The term pastoral usually refers to the keeping of sheep and cattle. It is also a style of poetry idealizing rural life that was very popular in the 17th and 18th centuries.  (This annotation contains an image)
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Why does Pollan view this meal so ideally? 
The uniform shapes of Chicken McNuggets (and the frozen chicken nuggets in the grocery store) are a giveaway to how highly processed they are.  (This annotation contains an image)
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What would you say is Pollan's main premise? 

Homework #11

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What do you think are some of the hidden costs (and not just monetary costs) of being able to purchase exotic fruits and vegetables, or to have fresh strawberries and the like year round? 
Some supermarket humor for you, courtesy of Eddie Izzard. There actually is a lot of psychology involved in the layout and displays of merchandise in grocery stores, as well as in the packaging of products.  (This annotation contains a video)
High fructose corn syrup is in nearly every packaged product that you purchase. Those products that don't include this ingredient usually emblazon that fact on the packaging.  (This annotation contains a link)
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What is the significance of the Mayan descendants saying "I am maize," and that they are "corn walking"? 
Diagram of photosynthesis  (This annotation contains an image)
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How has Pollan thus far personified corn? 
"Mexicoke" has a devoted following in the U.S. because it is made with real sugar. It is actually quite easy to find throughout most states. As you read, consider your thoughts about this product.  (This annotation contains a link)
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Explain in your own words how Sheridan was going to use agriculture as a weapon against native populations in the 19th century. 
Pollan continues to remind the reader to not underestimate the power that corn wields. It outlasted its first cultivators, and continues to thrive and even overpower those who currently 'control' it. This depiction contributes to the how Pollan personifies corn. 
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How is the the 'commodity' side of corn's duality described? 
Teosinte  (This annotation contains an image)
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This description of corn reproduction highlights its seeming 
'Cultivar' is a portmanteau word that combines the terms 'cultivated' and 'varieties.' These are plants selected and bred for desirable characteristics. These can be created by man or by nature, and there are very strict guidelines on the naming of new cultivars.  
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What is the driving force of all of this research and breeding of corn?  What  aspects are being forgotten? 

Homework #12

Consider why a tractor that is almost 40 years old is still in use. Pictured: 1975 International tractor  (This annotation contains an image)
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What is the best description of George Naylor? 
So, here the old tractor comes into play. Even though farming has become reliant on new technology, George still uses pieces of infrastructure from the 1970s. Investing in new equipment is not financially viable for him (though the implication here is that he is one of the few who has not given in to updates). 
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All of the following descriptions contribute to the feeling of monotony of planting corn EXCEPT 
In this picture, ca. 1910, you can see how the corn was planted so that workers could walk among the stalks for harvesting. Since everything is now done mechanically, corn is planted very close together to maximize field use. (This annotation contains an image)
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What is the effect of the analogy here? Does it change the way you think about the state of industrial farming in Iowa? 
One of the causes of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s was soil erosion and misuse of the land. "Originally covered with grasses that held the fine soil in place, the land of the southern plains was plowed by settlers who brought their farming techniques with them when they homesteaded the area. Wheat crops, in high demand during World War I, exhausted the topsoil. Overgrazing by cattle and sheep herds stripped the western plains of their cover. When the drought hit, the land just blew away in the wind." For more information, reference the article below. (This annotation contains a link)
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What best describes how the 'character' of corn is developed in this paragraph? 
Ammonium nitrate is highly combustible (not a surprise, since it was formerly used in making munitions), and to this day there are safety issues regarding the storage of ammonium nitrate fertilizers.  (This annotation contains a link)
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What does the discovery of synthetic nitrogen represent? 
Fritz Haber's legacy is very controversial. Listen to this exerpt from RadioLab to learn more about this polarizing scientific figure.  (This annotation contains a link)
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Explain the irony of this shift in energy reliance. 
Many people are becoming more and more concerned about their carbon footprint. There are resources that can help you determine how you can keep track and limit the amount of fossil fuels used in your personal diet.  (This annotation contains a link)
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What are the consequences of using synthetic nitrogen fertilizer on surrounding communities and beyond?  In your opinion, do the benefits outweigh the risks? 
By using the individual experiences of one corn farmer, Pollan is able to give context to the sometimes confusing current state of agriculture and farming. It also puts a face on all of the facts and figures, making the story more personal and engaging to the reader. 
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What does the highlighted section reveal about the nature of farming, no matter the time period? 
Here is more information on FDR's New Deal farm programs, a section of his larger New Deal plan to get the nation out of the Great Depression and put people back to work.  (This annotation contains a link)
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The description of Butz's "legacy" is an example of  
Corn is not the only crop subsidized by the U.S. government, but it is the largest crop.  (This annotation contains an image)
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Before George attempts to answer this question, what do you think?  Why do farmers continue to plant corn even though it is pretty much guaranteed to put them in debt? 
The trend continues. More and more land continues to be converted to corn/soy crops despite troubled economics and policies.  (This annotation contains an image)
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In your own words, explain how this quote relates to George's friend, Billy.  How does this quote relate to our dependence on technology in general? 

Homework #13

Grain elevator, with about 2.7 million bushels of corn piled 60 feet high. (From The New York Times)  (This annotation contains an image)
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To our detriment, what is missing from the United States' current relationship with corn? 
Chicago was a main railroad hub in the late nineteenth century. Its proximity to the Chicago River and Lake Michigan made it the perfect place from which to ship corn and other agro commodities (hog butcher for the world and whatnot), to the rest of the nation.  (This annotation contains an image)
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Commodity corn has become practically 
It is a self perpetuating cycle. To make money, farmers have to grow more corn, which then drives the price of corn down, which in turn makes the farmers have to grow more corn to make the difference through government subsidies. With this overabundance of cheap corn, it makes fiscal sense to find more and more uses for it, even if it puts the health of the population at risk. 
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What are the issues associated with few companies controlling the production of a resource? 
As with most items that are deemed "commodities," it is useful to strip away anything that makes it unique and consider it only in terms of what makes it materially useful or economically valuable. 

Homework #14

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Pollan's use of olfactory imagery in describing the odor of the feedlots can be best summarized as 
Here is a video posted on the Cargill Twitter account of one of their pig operations. Keep in mind the source when evaluating the conditions.  (This annotation contains a video)
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Why does Pollan decide to track the progress of industrial corn through a steer? 
The link below discusses the job description of a livestock buyer. (This annotation contains a link)
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What is the irony of using the grazing patterns of bison as a way to recreate sustainability? 
Pasture raised animals usually go to slaughter several months after a feedlot animal would; the pasture raised animal also doesn't use hormones or antibiotics to fatten the animal at an accelerated rate. As you read, consider your thoughts/feelings about the differences between each type. (This annotation contains a link)
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Pollan describing steer 534 as recognizing and acknowledging him is an example of 
Here is a video of a feed mill in action.  (This annotation contains a video)
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Cows have adapted to eating a diet of corn for all of the following reasons EXCEPT 
While fear of BSE was high in the 1980s and 1990s, Mad Cow disease continues to be a concern and cases occasionally pop up (and not just in Britain or the US).  (This annotation contains a link)
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In addition to the initial idea of cattle being fed cattle, what is disturbing about Rich Blair not having any idea that this was going on in the industry? 
Here is a picture of a cow with bloat. Bloat is one of the leading causes of death in cattle. (This annotation contains an image)
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This is an example of 
The author wants to find something human in the steer that he has been following to somehow solidify the connection he feels to it. However, 534 is, of course, a cow, and does not react as a dog or cat would upon seeing its owner.  
Antibacterial and antimicrobial resistance is a major world health crisis in the making. The link below discusses this issue. (This annotation contains a link)
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What is frustrating about the USDA's solution to dealing with bacterial infection? 
Map of the hypoxic 'dead zone' in the Gulf of Mexico  (This annotation contains an image)
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Pollan leaves Poky feeling 

Homework #15

So far, the author has used strong language to characterize corn as crafty and even monstrous. As you continue to read, pay attention to whether or not the way he views corn changes as he continues to follow its progress to the plate.  (This annotation contains an image)
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What are the dangers of having so little transparency in this industry? 
Parts of the corn kernel  (This annotation contains an image)
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All of these attempts to improve upon nature are good examples of 
This is an interesting pro in favor of this milling process. Despite all of the energy used to mill the corn, at least all products and byproducts are used and nothing is wasted. 
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Why do you think food did not need ingredient labels before the third age of food processing? 
You cannot patent a recipe; however, you can trademark a name or brand.  (This annotation contains a link)
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Explain why people in the industry use the term 'food system.' Is it just a marketing tool? 
Either option puts the burden on the consumer. We will either have to pay more for food, or be manipulated to eat more and pay in elevated health risks. Or both. 
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What is implied by the fact that chicken nuggets were created by 'food scientists' as opposed to being created by chefs? 
Pollan has cited this magazine, the publication of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), a few times. The IFT has been around for 75 years, quite a long time before the so-called fourth age of food processing.  (This annotation contains a link)
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What is dubious about these claims made in the seventies?  Would these companies get away with making similar claims now? 
One could even say the 'literally elastic' industrial eater. 

Homework #16

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Based on this paragraph, what reputation did America have in its early days? 
African Americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than non-Hispanic whites. Native Americans are also at a higher risk to develop type 2 diabetes.  (This annotation contains an image)
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What is the author's tone in saying that we are all "heroically managing" to absorb these excess calories? 
This graphic gives you a good idea of the difference in American sugar consumption over the past two centuries. Obviously, sugar was more of a rarity in 1822, when all sugar was consumed in its pure form and was mostly harvested by slave labor and shipped at a high cost. (This annotation contains an image)
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Recently, the mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, attempted to enact a ban on the sale of sodas over 16 oz. in size. The regulation passed, only to be appealed about a year later. Would you support such legislation in your city or town? 
There are many ways to control the amount of food that we eat in one sitting, either when eating at home or out at a restaurant.  (This annotation contains a video)
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Why are people from a low socioeconomic status more likely to be obese and develop type 2 diabetes? 

Homework #17

McDonald's is quite possibly one of the most successful US exports of all time. No matter where you are in the world, there is a good chance that there is a golden arches somewhere nearby.  (This annotation contains a link)
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Fast food restaurants bank on people "eating alone together," which is an example of a(n) 
Pollan again uses olfactory imagery to evoke nostalgia and memory, much like Marcel Proust's madeleine cookie in his book 'In Search of Lost Time.' This recurring motif strengthens his point that food is so closely connected to culture and personal experience.  (This annotation contains an image)
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What is the effect of the author's use of the words 'reminiscent,' 'alludes,' and 'abstraction' when describing the taste of the McNugget?  
Other products that have TBHQ as an ingredient include some brands of microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, pop tarts, cooking sprays, and more.  (This annotation contains an image)
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According to Pollan, how is McDonald's food 'opaque'? 
At McDonald's in Singapore, you can actually get a corn cup as a side item.  (This annotation contains an image)
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In what way have we become like a koala? 
Eating lower on the food chain also means eating underappreciated or underused food sources, too. This is especially popular with seafood in order to counteract overfishing or invasive species (like Asian Carp). As you watch, consider your thoughts about this Trash Fish supper. (This annotation contains a video)
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Now that you are better informed about corn and your diet, what is your opinion of corn?  Why don't Americans have more respect for it? 

II: PASTORALGRASS

Part I Quiz 

Homework #19

Working a farm 'the old fashioned way' is a lot more labor intensive than working on an industrial farm (although there is some machinery used here, as well). There are no weekends off here. It is hard to begrudge paying higher prices for food raised or cultivated on a true 'pastoral' farm. 
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The time spent at the Salatin farm evoked a(n) __________________ image of farm life for the author. 
In contradiction with the big agro companies like Cargill, transparency is one of the top principles of Polyface Farm. As you read, note the differences between it and Cargill. (This annotation contains a link)
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Explain how the animals on this farm have a symbiotic relationship.  Why is this important? 
This can be seen in architecture and city planning. Many urban renewal plans include ways to incorporate natural landscapes so as to aid city dwellers in reconnecting to nature.  (This annotation contains an image)
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Looking at the language he uses to describe the two phases, Pollan characterizes the relationship between grass and humans as 
Note that the ecologically sound and sustainable farming practices are considered 'alternative' in relation to the highly wasteful industrial farming practices.  (This annotation contains a link)
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What does the paradox of the Polyface Farm not technically being 'organic' reveal? 
There are a lot of rules to follow, hoops to jump through, in order to obtain and keep organic certification, and fines to pay for not following them to the letter. As you read, consider your thoughts about these rules. (This annotation contains a link)
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Explain Salatin's position on sustainability here.  Do you agree? 

Homework #20

The satirical show 'Portlandia' pokes fun at the kinds of people who are so interested in knowing everything about their food...including their names.  (This annotation contains a video)
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All of these intricate details about food sources ultimately 
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Can you clarify what is meant by "a landscape of reconciliation"? How is all of this a bit of a ruse on Whole Foods' part? 
While not quite Supermarket Pastoral, 'Food Lit' is a very popular genre of writing. This very book being one example of the genre.  (This annotation contains an image)
Here is a quick clip of Michael Pollan describing some of the tricks supermarkets (including so-called organic markets like Whole Foods) use to influence the buying habits of its consumers.  (This annotation contains a video)
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In this instance, 'blasted' means 
The 1969 fire was not the first on the Cuyahoga River, that was in 1868. It was this fire, however, that got national attention and led to environmental action to finally clean up the river.  (This annotation contains an image)
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In the 1960s many people associated the organic movement with 
Cascadian Farm label  (This annotation contains an image)
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Explain how Kahn unwittingly became part of the industrial organic business. 
Reductionist science can lead to the oversimplification of complex concepts and theories. One should not study science in a vacuum. 
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What is one of the problems of having such a reductionist view? 
It is not surprising that during this time of war that the British government favored fertilizer that garnered (temporary) high yields. They needed to feed soldiers and citizens on the home front for the duration.  (This annotation contains an image)
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What is the best summation of Howard's philosophy? 
Consider why we are not prepared to confront this truth. What are some of the possible consequences of ignoring the truth? 
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What was the driving reason for the farm's gradual shift to industrial organic farming?  What changed? 
It's difficult to get people to spend more on a niche market, especially when a majority of the public does not share a passion for ecological and sustainable food practices.  (This annotation contains a link)
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Why did the USDA initially allow GMOs to be included in certified organic products? 
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How does raising large herds of cattle in the desert contribute to ecological costs? 
Notice on the ingredients list of Horizon Organic Chocolate milk that some synthetics are indeed listed.  (This annotation contains an image)
And yet, California cows are supposedly "happy cows"... or so the California Milk Advisory Board would have us believe.  (This annotation contains a link)
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What does Kahn mean when he says that organics will never be more than "yuppie food" if the farms do not continue to grow in size? 
Organic broccoli field (although this one is in Canada)  (This annotation contains an image)
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Buying from one large farm, as opposed to 10 smaller farms is more cost efficient for all of the following reasons EXCEPT 
The introduction of bagged salads in the 1990s created a temporary boost in national salad consumption, mainly based on its novelty and convenience. According to the Wall Street Journal, in 2011, about 45% of lettuce sales were packaged salad mixes. (Pictured: Drew and Myra Goodman in Carmel Valley)  (This annotation contains an image)
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How did Earthbound Farm instigated a change in the way people eat? Consider your own lettuce/salad consumption in your answer, as well. 
The employment and treatment of migrant workers is another issue one must consider if truly invested in purchasing and consuming ethically produced food. 
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This "macho idea" of being able to grow what you want, where you want, and when you want it, is part of the recurring motif in the book of 
Despite many bagged salads being 'triple washed,' the jury is still out on whether or not you should wash it again once you bring it home. Several outbreaks of e coli traced back to prepackaged vegetable have left many wary.  (This annotation contains a link)
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What does the author mean when he says that he feels "cognitive dissonance" when it comes to organics? 
'Rosie' is what they call all of their organic chickens. They call their range chickens 'Rocky,' and their (so-called) free range chickens 'Rocky, Jr.'  (This annotation contains an image)
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Explain how Petaluma uses niche marketing to their advantage. 
After reading the 'Supermarket Pastoral' description of the life of a Petaluma chicken, one probably imagines something like what is pictured here. This does not jibe with the realities of the industrial organic poultry farm Pollan actually witnesses.  (This annotation contains an image)
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What is implied by the author's repetition of the term 'conceit' in referring to the idea of these chickens being free range? 
This is also true of specific cultivars. As a result of the huge popularity of Honeycrisp Apples, they are now being grown in South America so that they will be available in American supermarkets year round. 
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Explain in your own words why produce grown organically might taste better than produce grown using synthetic fertilizers. 
If you are purchasing a chicken based on taste alone, you should also be aware of other elements of processing, such as whether or not the chicken has been brined before packaging, or if it has been air-chilled or water-chilled. According to America's Test Kitchen, that can also contribute to the mushy texture of some supermarket birds.  (This annotation contains a link)
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What is the tone of Secretary Glickman's statement about organics? 
Some theorize that eating a diet of foods rich in polyphenols (and flavonols) will aid in longevity. 
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What had Howard's and Rodale's theories been missing that this scientific study finally adds? 
There have been several food movements and diets created in the backlash of the industrial food complex (both conventional an organic), namely the macrobiotic diet and the slow food movement. session=query_session:180D315A1130e36AD6gG2638C085 (This annotation contains a link)

Homework #21

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According to Pollan, we see grass as the figurative equivalent of 
This proves that, in a natural habitat, a cow will choose a somewhat diversified diet as opposed to the diet it would receive in an industrial farm. It would seem that if California truly wants its cows to be happy, then they should be giving them a little more of what they fancy (in this case, clover). 
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What does it mean to be a grass "evangelist"?  What does this say about Nation and his cohorts? 
It might be surprising to you that so much science and research has gone into the styles and techniques of grazing cattle, but this is a very important aspect of maintaining and sustaining an effective farm. Grazing techniques can also impact the surrounding environment either positively or negatively. There is currently a controversial grazing program in Victoria's Alpine National Park in Australia to study whether grazing cattle can cut down the number of brush fires.  
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Why is it so difficult to abide by the (unwritten) law of the 'second bite'? 
Moving cows from one pasture to another  (This annotation contains a video)
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What is significant about Joel's use of technology here? 
Here is a video of Joel Salatin working with the aforementioned electric fence.  (This annotation contains a video)
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What is to be gleaned from this process? 
This is also called carbon sequestration.  (This annotation contains an image)
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What do you think are some of the reasons for this? Consider issues of history, politics, and environment in your response. 
One should also consider the fast food workers, and the cost to taxpayers of having so many attempting to live on minimum wage.  (This annotation contains an image)
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Why hasn't grass become a commodity crop like corn? 
Jefferson also had a 'ferme ornee' at Monticello, an ornamental farm that was functional but also designed to be a beautiful and idealized pastoral landscape. As you read, consider what you find to be most interesting about the information. (This annotation contains a link)
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How would you describe William? 
Walking sprinkler  (This annotation contains an image)
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What have we learned about the motivation behind Joel's business philosophy?  How does it differ from the philosophy of industrial farmers? 

Homework #22

Pollack's work is known for his abstract drip paintings.  (This annotation contains an image)
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What is the effect of referring to the chickens as 'broilers'? Does this seem out of place in relation to how the author has described other animals and farm products? 
Here is a picture of an Eggmobile at another farm.  (This annotation contains an image)
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Why can't Joel just boost production of chicken and eggs since they are his best sellers? 
To make Joel's type of efficient farming part of the mainstream, industrial farming companies need to think more in the long term than in the bottom line and fast, large yields. There would need to be a sea change in the status quo. 
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How does this description of chicken compare to them being called "broilers" earlier? 
Picture of the pigaerator at Polyface Farm  (This annotation contains an image)
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Why is 'alchemy' a particular apt term here? 
Interestingly enough, there is a growing interest in farming in cities. Membership in the 4H club is on the rise in urban areas.  (This annotation contains a link)
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What is implied by this metaphor? Who is making these concoctions, and who is the devil in this scenario? 
Yes, pigs can get sunburned.  (This annotation contains a link)
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Looking at the author's word choice in this section, it is apparent that he is impressed with  

Homework #23

No matter how humane they are treated or, indeed, are killed, it is hard to view this process objectively. 
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Which statement best explains Emerson's quote? 
Here are the basics of USDA guidelines for slaughterhouses. As you look through these guidelines, consider if you believe that they are enough to be considered humane. (This annotation contains a link)
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Summarize Joel's main argument against the USDA and its regulations.  Can you make a case for the USDA's side? 
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What type of figurative language does the author rely on in describing his killing of the chicken? 
As uncomfortable as this is, many would argue that it is the fact that we are so far removed from this process that has led to our lack of understanding and respect for what we eat.  
What do you make of the conviviality of the whole process? Are these workers callous, or would expecting them to be more somber at the death of so many animals just be considered eater's guilt? 
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According to Joel, what is missing from the USDA guidelines? 
The ethics of killing an animal do not weigh so much on Joel because it is all part of a natural cycle on his farm. The author, not being part of that cycle, still feels guilt. 
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The author's use of the word 'transubstantiate' implies what kind of experience? 

Homework #24

There is a food movement that encourages people to only buy food that is produced locally (whether that means within the community, the state, or even just within the US depends on whom you ask). These people refer to themselves as Localvores. (This annotation contains an image)
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How might Joel's fervor, while well-intentioned, be somewhat alienating? 
Again, it is the hidden real cost behind industrial farming that masks the truth of the situation (as Joel sees it, at least).  (This annotation contains an image)
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In using the BMW analogy, it is implied that Americans might have to start thinking of food quality in terms of  
Thanks to the growing localvore movement, it is not difficult to find a CSA to join anywhere in the US.  (This annotation contains a link)
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What literary device are "carpool tunnels" and "oldtimer's disease" examples of? 
While some might call it a 'hipster fad,' artisanal crafts, can be big money makers, especially thanks to sites like Etsy, The Grommet, and Quirky. Artisanal food is also thriving in places where there is a demand for high quality products prepared in unconventional ways. (This annotation contains a link)
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Explain the cachet that Joel's chicken has compared to his pork and beef.  What does this mean to the consumer? 
Again, Pollan uses terminology with religious tones. An encomium is high praise, but can also refer to a eulogy.  
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What is one of the biggest problems in getting people to eat seasonally? 
Wal-Mart definitely has an image problem, on many fronts. They recently produced several commercials claiming that their meat and produce are just as good as anything you can get locally. Here is the produce commercial.  (This annotation contains a video)
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Food is a powerful metaphor because it is a stand-in for 
This is an important point about labels. Just as with the organic movement, just because something is deemed 'local,' it does not mean that it will necessarily fullfil what you think 'local' means. 
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In your own words, explain the difficulties associated with putting the "Eat your view!" philosophy into practice. 
It is not surprising that the religious imagery continues to crop up. Joel has been described a religious man with zealous tendencies about his beliefs. The comparisons are apt. 

Homework #25

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What fallacy has Pollan fallen for here? 
Corn seed annual from 1920, including the Golden Bantam (This annotation contains an image)
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Make a list of 4 points that you would use to persuade someone to buy grass-farm food. 
To compensate for a lack of omega-3 in their natural diet, many take it in pill form as a dietary supplement.  (This annotation contains an image)
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If you wanted the healthiest meal with a high Omega-3 content, what should you eat? 
The difference between the time when dining was a cultured ritual and the rush that it is now was humorously depicted in the a-man-out-of-time comedy 'Kate and Leopold.'  (This annotation contains a video)
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Pollan's description of the significance and importance of the souffle is an example of 

III: PERSONAL THE FOREST

Part II Quiz 

Homework #27

Foraging cab bring us back to the original omnivore's dilemma -- "can I eat that?" One should definitely do some homework before foraging.  (This annotation contains a link)
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How has a culture of fear influenced our eating habits?  Where does this fear come from, and how can it be overcome? 
It is astonishing to think how our modern eating practices constitute only about 1% of human history.  (This annotation contains a link)
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This Thoreau quote makes the author feel 
The Feast of the Seven Fishes, or Night of the Seven Fishes is called La Vigilia. It celebrates the waiting for the midnight birth of Jesus.  (This annotation contains an image)
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In this paragraph, Pollan opines about the _________ of California gun laws. 
In this case, it might not have been too dangerous for him to eat a false chanterelle, but it is better to be safe than sorry!  (This annotation contains a link)

Homework #28

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Why is it important for us to, at last in part, revisit this dilemma? 
One of the reasons why humans have developed such large brains because of the need to discern what is edible and what is not.  (This annotation contains an image)
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Using context clues, what does 'neophobia' mean? 
Richard Wrangham also argues that the introduction of cooking food also has made families and other relationships what they are.  (This annotation contains a link)
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What niche have human omnivores cornered? 
Here are some general kosher rules. While these tenets are related to religion, some rules were also created based on contemporary understanding of health risks.  (This annotation contains an image)
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According to Rousseau, how do humans both gain and lose power through food? 
This clip from the British television show "Supersizers Go Edwardian" illustrates the process of Fletcherism.  (This annotation contains a video)
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What separates American foodways from the rest of the world? 
The concept of what constitutes a 'family meal' certainly has changed in the course of the past 50 years or so. In this family, it seems to mean just being in the same house while someone is eating.  (This annotation contains an image)
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In your own words, explain how science and capitalism have created a new omnivore's dilemma.  How is this also affecting global foodways? 

Homework #29

This is a minefield of an issue. It is hard for any meat eater to take a stand against hunting with the air of hypocrisy. Hunting purely for sport or recreation is probably where they would have the most grounds for indignation. To learn more about this issue, peruse the website below. (This annotation contains a link)
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What accounts for our cognitive dissonance when it comes to the treatment of animals we view as pets and the animals we view as meat? 
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)  (This annotation contains an image)
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What is your opinion of Pollan's reasoning (and motivation for that reasoning)?  Are you satisfied with his response? 
This is a philosophical question that has been asked for centuries. It is doubtful that a consensus will be agreed upon any time soon.  (This annotation contains an image)
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What is the main tenet of AMC? 
Sentience means having the ability to feel fear and pain. There are some vegans who do believe that shellfish and mollusks are sentient beings.  (This annotation contains an image)
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In sum, according to Pollan, what do self-imposed dietary restrictions suffer from? 
In this instance, the lack of shame and self-pity (as well as a lack of cultural gender identity politics) will aid an animal in bouncing back from the physical pain of castration. 
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Ultimately, what allows for the CAFOs to continue with business as usual despite the public's better understanding of animal sentience? 
Complicity is another recurring theme of the book. As a meat eater, you are complicit in the evils of CAFOs if you support them with your buying power. You are a major part of the problem whether you know it or not. 
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The Holocaust analogy does not fit for farms like Polyface because 
You can even put your cat (or dog) on a vegan diet!  (This annotation contains an image)
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How is this an argument against vegetarianism/veganism (at least for political reasons, not health reasons)?   
Pollan clearly makes some judgment statements here about animal rights activists. Do you think he is correct in his estimation of "citified" naivety?  
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What is the main point here of the author's argument about veganism? 
The banner picture on the National Beef official website certainly evokes a different feel than what is described here.  (This annotation contains an image)
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How would you describe Grandin's tone in describing the act of slaughtering? 
Looking away should no longer be an option, according to Pollan. If one does not want to give up the consumption of meat, then they should look closer, not away. 
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Even if CAFOs did replace the sheet metal with glass, what good would it do if the public would not voluntarily come to look? What could still be gained from this transparency? 

Homework #30

This is an allusion to Virgil's role as Dante's guide in through hell and purgatory in "The Divine Comedy." Do you think this allusion reveals anything about Pollan's true feelings about hunting? 
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What is probably the most important factor in hunting? 
Atavism is the "recurrence of or reversion to a past style, manner, outlook, approach, or activity." In reveling in the killing of an animal, and enjoying the praise and high estimation of others for doing so, the author feels a connection to his hunter-gatherer ancestors. 
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Why does Pollan feel better about hunting pigs as opposed to another animal, like birds? 
Angelo's phrasing here is very similar to what the character Jack thinks in the novel The Lord of the Flies, after he hesitates to kill a pig the first time. ("Next time there would be no mercy." Lord of the Flies, chapter 1). 
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Explain what is happening to the author here.  What do you think is causing his hyperawareness? 
The metaphor of a tourist implies that the person is not really invested in the situation and is detached. There is interest, much like someone visiting a foreign country and being interested in local culture, but there is also suggested transience. The tourist will easily extract themselves and go on about their business. 
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How do you think the author would describe Angelo's personality? 
Wild California pigs  (This annotation contains an image)
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Pollans description of the pig's death and transformation is an example of a(n) 
Meat still has a high currency power. Recently, in Australia, stolen meat has been used as currency in trade for narcotics.  
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Why does Pollan feel he has to go hunting again? 
In the film The Deer Hunter (1978), hunting is used as a metaphor. Before going to war, Michael is in his element hunting deer. He takes pleasure in it and the power it lends him (as seen in this clip). After the war, he purposely misses a clean shot as a sort of personal protest against the senseless violence he has endured.  (This annotation contains a video)
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How would you describe this hunting experience? 
Curing prosciutto  (This annotation contains an image)
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At this point, does it matter who shot the pig?  Why would Angelo lie to him? 
Again, this can be a cultural and/or generational issue. How else can you explain the European delicacy (and probably something your grandma enjoys) head cheese? Gelatinous, organ-filled head cheese?  (This annotation contains an image)
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What is at the root of the hunter's uneasiness? 
These pictures can be a bit disconcerting. Who are they taken for? What is the point of them? Are these pictures another example of hubris? 
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In your own words, explain the duality that a transcendent hunter must exhibit. 

Homework #31

Also, consider the economics (and politics) of 'pick-your-own-fruit' farms. As you read the article below, consider your thoughts about the information presented. (This annotation contains a link)
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These recreational attempts at hunting, gathering, and foraging represent a tenuous link to our own 
"Fungophile" mushroom hunters are notoriously secretive and protective of their foraging grounds.  
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What are the characteristics of the best growing conditions for chanterelles? 
Wild chanterelle recipes  (This annotation contains a link)
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Before eating the mushrooms, the author must 
Mycophobia is a fear of fungus or mushrooms.  (This annotation contains an image)
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Why are mushrooms so mysterious? 
This is another example of a symbiotic relationship in nature. According to "Trees for Life," a website created by a conservation charity by the same name, "Decomposition and decay are the yin to the yang of growth, and together they form two halves of the whole that is the closed-loop cycle of natural ecosystems. Everything dies, and without the processes of decomposition and decay the world would quickly become not only overflowing with the remains of dead plants and animals, but also would experience a decline in new growth, due to a shortage of nutrients, that would be locked up and unavailable in the dead forms." 
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Clarify the fear and/or disgust many people have about mushrooms. 
There are some mushroom 'experts' (Stamets included) who liken mushrooms to the internet -- a connected 'neuro-network with the ability to think." What do you think? Are mushrooms sentient? 
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It seems that the level of secrecy about 'private' mushroom grounds is in direct relation to 
Wild morel mushroom  (This annotation contains an image)
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The forest being gorgeous and ghastly is an example of 
Foraging is a lot like hunting, but without the benefit of the quarry making any noise. Unlike hunting, foraging is less a game of chance, however. Mushrooms have qualities of both plant life and animals, so hunting mushrooms can be a bit of a mixed bag. 
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What does Pollan compare mushroom hunting to?  Can you extend the metaphor further? 
The paradoxical relationship with the forest is continued in Pollan's description here. It is both familiar and unfamiliar. 
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What is the effect of Ben's statement here? 
This meatiness, in smell and flavor, is why mushrooms are usually added to vegetarian dishes to mimic the flavor of meat (think portobello burgers). Mushrooms have what is called an 'umami' flavor.  (This annotation contains a link)
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What is this picture a callback to?   

Homework #32

There has been a boom in these kinds of dinners, hosted by farms and restaurants. There is even a PBS food show called "The Endless Feast" that highlights these dinners that focus on local and sustainable menus. The link below offers a lot more information about this show.  (This annotation contains a link)
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What is the real purpose of this meal? 
However, there are some abalone farms that will ship them to where you live. The Monterey Abalone Company claims to be a sustainable abalone farm in California that raises them from 'seed.' 
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According to Pollan, why do people continue to forage for abalone, despite all of the dangers and discomforts? 
When foraging, be aware of what is deemed public and private property. Be considerate! The article below discusses this, among other ideas related to foraging. (This annotation contains a link)
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Critique the wording of his menu.  What "pretentious flourishes" as he added?  Why does he add them? 
Consider the similarities between Angelo and the forge. 
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How does Pollan describe his eating of the pig he killed? 
Despite his desire to use mostly ingredients he had a hand in producing, he still had to go to the grocery store. This labor intensive dinner definitely shows that sustaining this kind of food lifestyle would be nearly impossible. 
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What has Pollan come to realize about the function and purpose of this meal?  How is it a return to tradition and indicative of a food culture? 
The movie 'Big Night' (1996) shows just how good food and good wine can break the ice between strangers quickly.  (This annotation contains a video)
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What has the preparation of the food come to mean to the author? 
Beyond the taste of the meal, the transparency of its origins and the knowledge of its true cost (or lack of cost) contributed to its 'perfection.' 
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If both of these meals are unsustainable, then what would be a happy medium? 
Part III Quiz