Back to ArticleClick to PrintSunday, Jun. 11, 2006By Michael PollanOnce upon a time Americans had a culture of food to guide us through the increasingly treacherous landscape of food choices: fat vs. carbs,organic vs. conventional, vegetarian vs. carnivorous. Culture in this case is just a fancy way of saying "your mom." She taught us what to eat,when to eat it, how much of it to eat, even the order in which to eat it. But Mom's influence over the dinner menu has proved no match forthe $36 billion in food-marketing dollars ($10 billion directed to kids alone) designed to get us to eat more, eat all manner of dubiousneofoods, and create entire new eating occasions, such as in the car. Some food culture.I've spent the past five years exploring this daunting food landscape, following the industrial food chain from the Happy Meal back to thenot-so-happy feedlots in Kansas and cornfields in Iowa where it begins and tracing the organic food chain back to the farms. My aim wassimply to figure out what--as a nutritional, ethical, political and environmental matter--I should eat. Along the way, I've collected a fewrules of thumb that may be useful in navigating what I call the Omnivore's Dilemma.Don't eat anything your great-great-great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. Imagine how baffled your ancestors would be in amodern supermarket: the epoxy-like tubes of Go-Gurt, the preternaturally fresh Twinkies, the vaguely pharmaceutical Vitamin Water.