What are the questions/conceptual interests/inquiries present in Pollan’s essay?
The big idea that Pollan’s getting at in his essay is questioning the “purity” of fast food meals. What are they, and where do the ingredients come from? He also touches upon the idea of comfort food, and how McDonald’s serves food that are so high in carbohydrates and fats, that it’s essential a comfort food. Pollen touches on the easiness of the meal in the beginning, on how the meal is cheap, fast and able to eat with one hand while driving, ultimately making meal easy to make.
“Part of the appeal of hamburgers and suggests is that their boneless abstractions allow us to forget we’re eating animals” (114).
This quote brings up the idea that it’s easier to eat McDonalds meat because with the lack of bones and tendons, it allows the eater to not think of the food as once being an animals. Seeing as “one in three of them [children] eat fast food every single day” (109), this means that a lot of Americans aren’t thinking about what they’re eating. When eating meat, people should know and at least realize that what they’re eating is meat, that was once a living organism. If people can’t stand to think about that, while they eat meat, then they don’t have the right to be able to kill another animal just for the sake of eating. A student in the class once brought up the fact that in the wild, when a predator kills prey to eat it, the predator doesn’t think about how the animal was feeling, but that it feeds them. That statement doesn’t support his argument, because when the predator is eating that prey, they know it’s an animal, and they eat every bit of that animal. If they don’t other organisms do and eventually the decease animal is completely gone. In today’s world, a lot of meat is wasted. So humans should be grateful that another animal died for their enjoyment, especially at a fast food restaurant when the food their eating is mostly additives.
“No, I could not taste the feed corn or the petroleum or the antibiotics or the hormones – or the feedlot manure. Yet while ‘A Full Serving of Nutrition Facts’ did not enumerate these facts, they too have gone into the making of this hamburger, are part of its natural history” (114-15).
I found this quote interesting because a lot of the time, people don’t think about the life of the animal before it’s killed. A lot of people focus on how the animal was treated physically (standing in it’s own manure, being killed in inhuman ways, tortured etc.) but it’s important to realize all the antibiotics and hormones that have gone into the raising of mass production animal farms. Tons of hormones are pumped into animals so they are more meater, with growth hormones, or hormones so that cows produce more milk, hormones that create chickens to go so fast that their own legs can’t even support their weight. All this is used in “raising” animals for fast food restaurants. It’s all about finding the quickest, easiest and cheapest ways. This relates a lot to Pollan’s essay since fast food restaurants are designed to be quick, easy and cheap. Whenever people eat meat, they are also eating the chemicals and added substances that animal ate before it died. I think Pollan is trying to highlight the importance of clean, naturally raised meat.
“The calculation finally…blacktop behind us” (116).
In this paragraph, Pollan was figuring out all the mathematics of how much corn is in the food we eat, and he found that people eat a lot of corn with different foods. Corn is hidden in all sorts of form in the foods we at. So much so that “the amount of own that went into producing our movable fast-food feast would easily have overflowed the car’s trunk”, and this just amazes me! It really makes me question the purity of our food. Most of Pollan’s essay was about what was in the food he and his family was eating at McDonalds, and in the end, the majority of it was corn. This quote really gave a great visual on how much corn the average family consumes on only ONE meal.
“So what? Why should it matter that we have become a race of corn eaters such as the world has never seen? Is this necessarily a bad thing? The answer all depends on where you stand” (117).
I thought this quote was important because it really does depend on where you stand on this spectrum. For the business that make the corn, processing it was cheap, and a single crop, can be turned into 41 different items. That’s pretty efficient in my mind in terms being able to do that. For business, corn is cheap, meaning businesses can sell their food for cheaper than what natural restaurants are selling their food for, and thus the customers are happier because they paid less. Though, the customer ultimately pays the price in the end because after years of eating fast food for meals, they will most likely get diabetes Type II, they’re be obese, and be in poor healths, so in the long run, it didn’t do them any good to get food from McDonalds. The down side to all of this corn is that fact that fertilizers are added to the corn fields that then run off and into the ecosystem which causes negative effects to the earth. Also, another think that corn does is soak up all the nitrogen in the soil, which is essentially taking it away from other plants in the ecosystem that we need for air and other things, like keeping the ground from eroding. I just liked the idea that Pollan state how it depends on where you stand.