In “The Plant: Corn’s Conquest,” Michael Pollan begins his first investigation into what he calls the “industrial food chain.” Most American consumers get their food from the supermarket, and Pollan uses several examples to discuss how far removed the supermarket—with its air conditioning, florescent lighting, and “machine-lathed” baby carrots—is from the natural world. By the time Pollan’s exploration of the supermarket reaches Pop-Tarts and Twinkies, it seems that he has established the need to investigate where these “foods” come from.
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