RQ: Pollan, Omnivore’s Dilemma, 1-32


Keep the following questions in mind as you read Micheal Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, 1-32. The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.


1.What is the “omnivore’s dilemma,” according to Pollan, and what structures have humans developed to try and solve it?

2. How have some of the solutions to the problem, “what’s for dinner,” created more problems than they have solved?

3. How is eating political and ecological?

Chapter I: The Plant (Corn’s Conquest)

1. Why does Pollan think modern, US grocery stores should astound naturalists (16)?

2. Asking, “what’s for dinner?” provoked Pollan to ask two other questions. What are they?

3. How does Pollan define industrial food?

4. What connection does a steak or plastic bag have with a corn field?

5. Of all the corn based product Pollan lists, which surprised you most and why(18-19)?

6. How can scientists figure out how much corn you have eaten?

7. How does the way corn gathers carbon from the air differ from most other plants?

8. What does Pollan mean when he says, “corn has succeeded in domesticating us” (23)?

9. What does Pollan mean when he says, “corn is the protocapitalist plant” (25)?

10. What is an F-1 Generation? From an economic perspective, what is the appeal of having a plant whose second generation is less productive than its first (31)?