In my late teens and early twenties I was a rather militant vegetarian. I gave it up after a while, mostly because it was a lot of work being a vegetarian in the 80's. And then there was the lack of dinner invitations from friends who didn't want me giving the gimlet eye to their salmon (yes, sadly, I was that kind of vegetarian). There wasn't the embarrassment of options there is now - I think the soy bean has been turned into more meat-like products than a cow has, even. It was exhausting being a vegetarian in the 80's. We won't even mention the condition of some of the organic vegetables available in the shops. Let's just say I'd rather have eaten dirt than some of those carrots. Thankfully all that has changed, although my militancy still rears its head now and again.
When Michael Pollan's book first came out in adult form (note that this is the Young Reader's Edition) I tried to read it. I even put it on my iPod. But it was no good - I kept falling asleep every time I'd listen/read. Or gaze out to sea. Or wonder what to have for dinner. Distractions. Once I even wondered what a Tofurkey tasted like, at which point I realized that this book and I would have to part ways, because I can't be thinking about Tofurkeys. It's just TOO weird a food item, even for me.
But that was a while ago, and so, when I came across the Young Reader's Edition, I thought I would read it with Max. He'd really liked Three Cups of Tea, and this seemed a compatible transition. We would discuss, well, whatever it is Michael Pollan writes about (remember, I'd only got past the first sentence at that point). So I bought it and read the first chapter. I don't know how it differs from the adult version, but it is so excellent I'm reading it to all three kids.
Well, no, not really. Sometimes we ARE eating lunch.
No Tofurkeys though.
But seriously, you must read this to your kids. It's not shocking in the way that Food, Inc is but it is distressing, and it will cause you to gasp at the way we've allowed our food to get so doctored. It will also make you feel more than a little sorry for farmers.
Perhaps it will even inspire people to garden more.