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THE PLANT: Corn’s CONQUEST - A Review 1
The Plant: Corn’s Conquest - A Review
Kevin B. Alexander
THE PLANT: Corn’s CONQUEST - A Review 2
In The Omnivore’s Dilemma Michael Pollan recounts his journey to ascertain the American way of eating. For Pollan, tracking the path of the food we eat from its source to our palate was a historical and cultural one. Omnivore’s Dilemma is an interesting read for those individuals, which include me, who take for granted where our food comes from and takes comfort in just knowing it is available. In The Plant: Corn’s Conquest, section one of Chapter 1, is where Pollan constructs an interesting premise. While surveying the landscape of a non-descript supermarket, Pollan begins to ponder the artificial and commercial means that provide this “biodiversity.” This led him to scrutinize the industrial food chain and attempt to determine its source from earth to plate. His inquiries always seemed to lead him to the same place, a farm in American Corn Belt. Pollan came to realize that Zea Mays, the unassuming corn plant, is one of the pillars of the American industrial food chain.
Why corn? How did corn become such an important staple in the American diet? While Pollan concludes that while petroleum factors heavily into the production of foodstuffs, it is corn and its derivatives that are the common denominator in a majority of food production in the U. S. Corn and products made from corn cover nearly the entire spectrum of the America’s industrialized food landscape. Animal feed is comprised of corn and used in beef, poultry, pork, and even seafood farming. Corn contains the starches, sugars and other compounds that are integral in the manufacturing of a great majority of our processed foods and non-food commercial items.
THE PLANT: Corn’s CONQUEST - A Review 3
Pollan succeeded in discovering why corn is so important to food production. Corn’s footprint is pervasive and through the...
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