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Lost In The Supermarket

Michael Pollan On How The Food Industry Has Changed The Way We Eat

Families used to control what their members ate and pass along learned wisdom in the form of a food culture. Now that’s gone. Most people don’t eat as families. We eat individually, going one-on-one with the food supply, which is how the food industry likes it.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Seventy-Two Labors

I knew things were getting bad when I started avoiding the grocery store. Not that there was anything unusual about the store where I shopped. It was a typical American grocery, crisply chilled and brightly lit, dairy on the right, frozen foods on the left. The problem was the smell. Even though the butcher section was in the back, I could smell animal flesh when I came through the doors, the faint stench that leaked through the plastic wrap and rose above the ammonia smell of the floors. That odor seemed to penetrate the skins of the fruits and vegetables. Was that possible? I wondered why no one else seemed to notice.

The Anxiety Of Eating

An Excerpt From The Omnivore’s Dilemma

Historically, national cuisines have been remarkably stable and resistant to change, which is why the immigrant’s refrigerator is the very last place to look for signs of assimilation.

Stupid Design

Fundamentalist Christians are leading a movement to teach “intelligent design” in our public schools, as an alternative to evolution. According to National Geographic News, the theory of intelligent design states that “certain features of the natural world are of such complexity that the most plausible explanation is that they are products of an intelligent cause rather than . . . natural selection.”

Ways To Show Affection

The cold morning wind clings to my skin like a tangled bedsheet, following me in the door from Lafayette Street and through the metal detector. The heat isn’t working in the clinic waiting room. A bronze bust of Margaret Sanger, patron saint of birth control, scrutinizes me from a plaster podium, and a slide show, Ways to Show Affection without Intercourse, is projected half on a pull-down screen and half on the cottage-cheese ceiling. There are no empty seats, so I stand among the teenagers, who are still wearing their oversized coats and avoiding eye contact, while a security officer with a shaved head presides over us with a list of names: Tiphanie, Lindsay, Keisha. You young ladies can go on back now. No, you can’t take anyone with you. The third way to show affection without intercourse is cuddling, but the man I’m with isn’t holding my hand. I’m out of place because of my pale skin and my jewelry; he’s out of place because of his gray hair.



The children’s puppy was run over at the end of May. Not on the main road, which Pam might have expected, but on the dirt track that formed the western boundary of the farm. How was it possible? No one even drove there. But there he was, splayed out in the lush green weeds of the shoulder, his sweet muzzle soaked with blood. Pam wrapped him in her coat and carried him across the field to the house, his body still soft in her arms.

Readers Write

Winners And Losers

I’ve never been competitive. When I was a child, blowing gigantic bubble-gum bubbles was my idea of athleticism. Just the thought of team sports could reduce me to a quivering mass of anxieties: What if I got picked last? What if I couldn’t kick the ball straight? What if everyone made fun of me? By the time gym period rolled around, I would stumble onto the playground already defeated.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Sy Safransky's Notebook

May 2006

Another day begins. Dawn doesn’t ask if I’m ready. The birds don’t wait for every polluted stream to be cleaned up before they start to sing. Nor have they had a chance to study that timeless spiritual classic, must reading for those who would Fly Like a Bird.

Musings From Our Founder ▸


The two biggest sellers in any bookstore are the cookbooks and the diet books. The cookbooks tell you how to prepare the food, and the diet books tell you how not to eat any of it.

Andy Rooney

More Quotations ▸
We’re Counting on You

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