This week for Book Beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56 I've selected Michael Pollan's 'The Omnivore's Dilemma'.
Air-conditioned, odorless, illuminated by buzzing fluorescent tubes, the American supermarket doesn't present itself as having very much to do with Nature. And yet what is the place if not a landscape (manmade , it's true) teeming with plants and animals?
The Friday 56:
And then of course there's the corn itself, which if corn could form an opinion would surely marvel at the absurdity of it all - and at its great good fortune. For corn has been exempted from the usual rules of nature and economics, both of which have rough mechanisms to check such wild, uncontrolled proliferation. In nature, the population of a species explodes until it exhausts its supply of food; then it crashes. In the market, an oversupply of a commodity depresses prices until either surplus is consumed or it no longer makes sense to produce any more of it. In corn's case, humans have labored mightily to free it from either constraint, even if that means going broke growing it, and consuming it just as fast as we possibly can.