[pdf | 5,97 Mb] The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan – great books to read

  • Full Title : The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
  • Autor: Michael Pollan
  • Print Length: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin
  • Publication Date: August 28, 2007
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143038583
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143038580
  • Download File Format | Size: pdf | 5,97 Mb
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One of the New York Times Book Review’s Ten Best Books of the Year

Winner of the James Beard Award

Author of How to Change Your Mind and the #1 New York Times Bestsellers In Defense of Food and Food Rules

What should we have for dinner? Ten years ago, Michael Pollan confronted us with this seemingly simple question and, with The Omnivore’s Dilemma, his brilliant and eye-opening exploration of our food choices, demonstrated that how we answer it today may determine not only our health but our survival as a species. In the years since, Pollan’s revolutionary examination has changed the way Americans think about food. Bringing wide attention to the little-known but vitally important dimensions of food and agriculture in America, Pollan launched a national conversation about what we eat and the profound consequences that even the simplest everyday food choices have on both ourselves and the natural world. Ten years later, The Omnivore’s Dilemma continues to transform the way Americans think about the politics, perils, and pleasures of eating.


Editorial Reviews


Gold Medal in Nonfiction for the California Book Award • Winner of the 2007 Bay Area Book Award for Nonfiction • Winner of the 2007 James Beard Book Award/Writing on Food Category • Finalist for the 2007 Orion Book Award • Finalist for the 2007 NBCC Award

“Thoughtful, engrossing … You’re not likely to get a better explanation of exactly where your food comes from.”–The New York Times Book Review

“An eater’s manifesto … [Pollan’s] cause is just, his thinking is clear, and his writing is compelling. Be careful of your dinner!”–The Washington Post

“Outstanding… a wide-ranging invitation to think through the moral ramifications of our eating habits.”–The New Yorker

“If you ever thought ‘what’s for dinner’ was a simple question, you’ll change your mind after reading Pollan’s searing indictment of today’s food industry-and his glimpse of some inspiring alternatives…. I just loved this book so much I didn’t want it to end.”–The Seattle Times

“Michael Pollan has perfected a tone—one of gleeful irony and barely suppressed outrage—and a way of inserting himself into a narrative so that a subject comes alive through what he’s feeling and thinking. He is a master at drawing back to reveal the greater issues.”—Los Angeles Times

“Michael Pollan convincingly demonstrates that the oddest meal can be found right around the corner at your local McDonald’s…. He brilliantly anatomizes the corn-based diet that has emerged
in the postwar era.”—The New York Times

“[Pollan] wants us at least to know what it is we are eating, where it came from and how it got to our table. He also wants us to be aware of the choices we make and to take responsibility for them. It’s an admirable goal, well met in The Omnivore’s Dilemma.”—The Wall Street Journal

“A gripping delight…This is a brilliant, revolutionary book with huge implications for our future and a must-read for everyone. And I do mean everyone.”—The Austin Chronicle

“As lyrical as What to Eat is hard-hitting, Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals…may be the best single book I read this year. This magisterial work, whose subject is nothing less than our own omnivorous (i.e., eating everything) humanity, is organized around two plants and one ecosystem. Pollan has a love-hate relationship with ‘Corn,’ the wildly successful plant that has found its way into meat (as feed), corn syrup and virtually every other type of processed food. American agribusiness’ monoculture of corn has shoved aside the old pastoral ideal of ‘Grass,’ and the self-sustaining, diversified farm based on the grass-eating livestock. In ‘The Forest,’ Pollan ponders the earliest forms of obtaining food: hunting and gathering. If you eat, you should read this book.”—Newsday

“Smart, insightful, funny and often profound.”—USA Today

The Omnivore’s Dilemma is an ambitious and thoroughly enjoyable, if sometimes unsettling, attempt to peer over these walls, to bring us closer to a true understanding of what we eat—and, by extension, what we should eat…. It is interested not only in how the consumed affects the consumer, but in how we consumers affect what we consume as well…. Entertaining and memorable. Readers of this intelligent and admirable book will almost certainly find their capacity to delight in food augmented rather than diminished.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“On the long trip from the soil to our mouths, a trip of 1,500 miles on average, the food we eat often passes through places most of us will never see. Michael Pollan has spent much of the last five years visiting these places on our behalf.”—Salon.com

“The author of Second Nature and The Botany of Desire, Pollan is willing to go to some lengths to reconnect with what he eats, even if that means putting in a hard week on an organic farm and slitting the throats of chickens. He’s not Paris Hilton on The Simple Life.”—Time

“A pleasure to read.”—The Baltimore Sun

“A fascinating journey up and down the food chain, one that might change the way you read the label on a frozen dinner, dig into a steak or decide whether to buy organic eggs. You’ll certainly never look at a Chicken McNugget the same way again…. Pollan isn’t preachy; he’s too thoughtful a writer and too dogged a researcher to let ideology take over. He’s also funny and adventurous.”—Publishers Weekly

“[Pollan] does everything from buying his own cow to helping with the open-air slaughter of pasture-raised chickens to hunting morels in Northern California. This is not a man who’s afraid of getting his hands dirty in the quest for better understanding. Along with wonderfully descriptive writing and truly engaging stories and characters, there is a full helping of serious information on the way modern food is produced.”—BookPage

The Omnivore’s Dilemma is about something that affects everyone.”—The Sacramento Bee

“Lively and thought-provoking.”—East Bay Express

“Michael Pollan makes tracking your dinner back through the food chain that produced it a rare adventure.”—O, The Oprah Magazine

“A master wordsmith…Pollan brings to the table lucid and rich prose, an enthusiasm for his topic, interesting anecdotes, a journalist’s passion for research, an ability to poke fun at himself, and an appreciation for historical context…. This is journalism at its best.”—Christianity Today

“First-rate…[A] passionate journey of the heart…Pollan is…an uncommonly graceful explainer of natural science; this is the book he was born to write.”—Newsweek

“[Pollan’s] stirring new book…is a feast, illuminating the ethical, social and environmental impacts of how and what we choose to eat.”—The Courier-Journal

“From fast food to ‘big’ organic to locally sourced to foraging for dinner with rifle in hand, Pollan captures the perils and the promise of how we eat today.”—The Arizona Daily Star

“A multivalent, highly introspective examination of the human diet, from capitalism to consumption.”—The Hudson Review

“What should you eat? Michael Pollan addresses that fundamental question with great wit and intelligence, looking at the social, ethical, and environmental impact of four different meals. Eating well, he finds, can be a pleasurable way to change the world.”—Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation and Reefer Madness

“Widely and rightly praised…The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals [is] a book that—I kid you not—may change your life.”—Austin American-Statesman

“With the skill of a professional detective, Michael Pollan explores the worlds of industrial farming, organic and sustainable agriculture, and even hunting and gathering to determine the links of food chains: how food gets from its sources in nature to our plates. The findings he reports in this this book are often unexpected, disturbing, even horrifying, but they are facts every eater should know. This is an engaging book, full of information that is most relevant to conscious living.”—Dr. Andrew Weil, author of Spontaneous Healing and Healthy Aging

“Michael Pollan is a voice of reason, a journalist/philosopher who forages in the overgrowth of our schizophrenic food culture. He’s the kind of teacher we probably all wish we had: one who triggers the little explosions of insight that change the way we eat and the way we live.”—Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse restaurant

“Michael Pollan is such a thoroughly delightful writer—his luscious sentences deliver so much pleasure and humor and surprise as they carry one from dinner table to cornfield to feedlot to forest floor, and then back again—that the happy reader could almost miss the profound truth half hidden at the heart of this beautiful book: that the reality of our politics is to be found not in what Americans do in the voting booth every four years but in what we do in the supermarket every day. Embodied in this irresistible, picaresque journey through America’s food world is a profound treatise on the hidden politics of our everyday life.”—Mark Danner, author of Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib and the War on Terror

“Every time you go into a grocery store you are voting with your dollars, and what goes into your cart has real repercussions on the future of the earth. But although we have choices, few of us are aware of exactly what they are. Michael Pollan’s beautifully written book could change that. He tears down the walls that separate us from what we eat, and forces us to be more responsible eaters. Reading this book is a wonderful, life-changing experience.”—Ruth Reichl, editor in chief of Gourmet magazine and author of Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise

About the Author

Michael Pollan, recently featured on Netflix in the four-part series Cooked, is the author of seven previous books, including Food Rules, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and The Botany of Desire, all New York Times bestsellers. A longtime contributor to The New York Times, he is also the Knight Professor of Journalism at Berkeley. In 2010, Time magazine named him one of the one hundred most influential people in the world.





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An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014


Copyright © 2015 by Jane Green

Penguin Random House supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin Random House to continue to publish books for every reader.

New American Library and the NAL colophon are registered trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.

ISBN: 9780399583391

Collector’s edition, 2015

Berkley hardcover edition, October 2016

Interior photographs by Tom McGovern

Interior illustrations by Jane Green

The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written. The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision. The publisher is not responsible for any adverse reactions to the recipes contained in this book.



Who taught me that food is love






It all began with hello…


My favorite middles are easy to prepare and enjoy…


The perfect ending is always sweet…







This is not a book about food. This is a book about gathering family and friends in a warm, comfortable, welcoming kitchen and feeding them the kinds of food that make them feel loved.

I grew up with a mother who cooked, who collected recipes in a file or scrawled them down, ingredients only, never quantities, able to retain the rest in her head. I would perch on a kitchen stool as she baked, taking the pastry scraps and rolling them out for jam tarts, making peppermint creams for the school sale.

When I was at university, I would come home during vacations, often to an empty house with my parents away at our house in France. I would proceed to invite all my friends over, cooking elaborate meals, stratas and quiches for brunches, delicious desserts. I was a bold and fearless cook, never afraid to try something new, moving swiftly on when it didn’t work out.

There were, inevitably, disasters. I hoped to impress a new boyfriend by cooking a Thai green curry for his closest friends. The recipe called for four large green peppers. My local grocery store only carried tiny green peppers, so I bought 16 of them, figuring that might make up the difference, not realizing each tiny one packed more heat than an Exocet missile. I almost set everyone’s mouth on fire, but happily it was great material for a scene in one of my early books, Jemima J, in which Jemima fails miserably at impressing her prospective future in-laws.

For years, when people asked me if I loved to cook, I nodded, because as far back as I can remember, there was nothing I loved more than gathering people together in the kitchen and feeding them.

Then I had children. Suddenly I had no time and everyone needed to be fed, every day. I no longer had the luxury of spending the day chopping and dicing, and it all started to feel like far more of a burden than a pleasure.

I started looking for different kinds of recipes, ones that didn’t require sautéing for hours, ones that didn’t keep me enslaved to the stove. I wanted recipes that were quick and easy, that could be thrown together without much thought, that I could give to the children and just as easily serve at a dinner party. My two requirements were ease and an impressive, and (naturally) delicious, result.

I quickly realized that for me, having people over is less about the food, and more about comfort, warmth, nurture. It is about creating the kind of welcoming environment that instantly makes people feel relaxed and cared for, that truly brings meaning to the concept of food being love.

With the children came the tuna casserole years. I shall spare you the recipe, although one of my babysitters from those years still swears by it and makes it for her own children today. There was much meatloaf and many meatballs. And it all felt dull. I always cooked from scratch though, and we always sat together as a family. We still do. My children may be running off to basketball, or rowing or out with friends, but most days of the week everyone comes home to sit around the large old table in our kitchen to eat home-cooked food.

I discovered that everyday cooking doesn’t inte
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feeding methods in the same dish (like the Magic Fish Fingers with crushed pea dip) is very creative. Going big and bold with flavour when cooking for babies is a wonderful rule of thumb. It’s important to stoke a baby’s natural curiosity by exposing them to as many different food flavours, ingredients, textures and cuisines as possible, as early as possible. And I like the idea of parents using their parental judgement to introduce new foods at a pace that they feel is right for their child. That said, Beth has written a handy guide full of tips and hints to guide your intuition week-by week and month-by-month – see here.

I am pleased to see that the core messages in Young Gums are so well aligned with the globally recognised World Health Organization infant feeding recommendations. In line with latest evidence, I am also happy to see the use of unrefined whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables (fibre-rich skin and all – great move!), a wide range of protein sources, and the absence of any refined sugars and refined carbohydrates. Special mention on that last point must also go to the first birthday party celebration table – what a feast, and not a grain of refined sugar in sight. I also love the parent-boosting snacks tucked away at the back of the book. As a parent of a young child myself I am very much on board with the idea of nourishing ourselves as we learn to nourish our babies (I’m also on board with the One Hand Cooking … I’m sure all new parents can relate to this!).

Beth is a refreshing – and welcome – new voice in weaning. She makes this potentially confusing stage of new parenthood feel wonderfully simple, and presents cooking for your baby as an adventure rather than a chore (regardless of how sharp your culinary skills are). You can tell how much fun she has in her own kitchen and I very much hope her enthusiasm inspires yours.

Emma Derbyshire heads up Nutritional Insight Ltd, a consultancy to food, healthcare and Government organisations. She has expertise in maternal and child nutrition. She is also the co-founder of LittleFoodie.Org – an organisation providing expert advice on early year’s nutrition.


* * *

Hi. Welcome to Young Gums, the modern parent’s guide to raising a happy, healthy eater.

This collection of healthy, creative and fun recipes will guide you from the very start of your weaning journey right through to your baby’s first birthday, and beyond. He or she will encounter a huge range of tasty, nourishing, interesting dishes that I hope will help establish a happy lifelong relationship with good, whole, real food.

This is a baby food cookbook unlike any other. You’ll see ingredients and flavours you might not expect. And you’ll find no rigid month-by-month stages to tick off (although there is a helpful weaning timeline here). Everything here is safe from the very start of weaning and each recipe is flexible enough to evolve in texture, serving style and portion size as your baby develops. And best of all, everything is quick, easy and inexpensive. Some of the dishes are so easy you can make them without even putting your baby down. Welcome to the world of #OneHandCooking.

All nutritional advice has been approved by infant nutrition expert and clinical nutritionist, Dr. Emma Derbyshire, and is in line with up-to-date World Health Organization advice on weaning. As well as Emma, while writing this book I read and spoke to psychologists, dieticians, and food historians, as well as grandmothers and great-grandmothers from different food cultures. Every recipe has been triple-tested for ease, accuracy and tastiness by real parents of real weaning babies – members of the thousands-strong Young Gums online community. Ideas and feedback from all over the world have helped hone these recipes. It takes a village!

The parents in my network also helped me build the Baby Feeding FAQs section here. I asked them what they wished they’d known at the start of weaning, and figured out simple, clear answers to the questions that came up again and again. I hope our collective experiences can help you as you begin your weaning journey.

Speaking of us parents, at the end of the book you’ll find a special selection of recipes just for you. It’s easy to overlook nourishing ourselves as we focus on nourishing our babies, and these nutrient-packed snacks have the power to pick you up and keep you going no matter how badly you slept last night.

In closing, know this: if you choose to cook for your baby, you’re in good company. In fact you’re part of a growing global tribe, and I don’t just mean the Young Gums community. Sales of manufactured baby food are in decline in many countries as more and more Millennial parents choose to cook for their babies.

I hope your baby likes these recipes as much as mine does, and I hope you enjoy reading this book half as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Ok let’s get started. We
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eat food and discover tasty alternatives to your usual rotation of recipes. We love that meatless food preparation forces you to expand your culinary creativity. The recipes in Vegetarian Any Day begin with the goal of being delicious. Sticking with our usual modus operandi, we have made these delectable dishes with easily accessible and nutritious ingredients and with that same anyone-can-cook attitude. We’ve created satisfying recipes that don’t feel like they’re missing anything; meals that will please, surprise and nourish.

Flexitarians, both new and experienced, can enjoy these delicious recipes, which will make you forget they happen to be vegetarian. So whether your version of meatless is a result of conscious choice or not, whatever day of the week you choose, bon appétit! (Or as we’d say in Norwegian, vær så god!)

Patricia and Carolyn


Vegetarian cooking is simple and made easier if you have a few important staples on hand. The first trick is stocking your pantry with those meatless ingredients that you and your family prefer, whether beans or legumes, ancient grains, mushrooms or sweet potatoes (for a list of pantry items, see this page). Your favourite vegetarian essentials are key for successful vegetarian recipe prep, as they’ll provide the most meal possibilities. It’s helpful to plan your recipes on the weekend and buy what you’ll need before the week begins and becomes too hectic. Start with easy recipes that include ingredients you’re familiar with so they don’t feel too foreign and will ultimately be easier to adopt into your cooking routine. Be inspired and open-minded, and let your creative meatless cook emerge. Get a member (or two!) of your household involved as this will surely increase their chances of enjoying the meals too!


Deciding which oil to use in a recipe can be confusing. Oil can be a healthier alternative to butter, since it contains more unsaturated, rather than saturated, fats. But how do you choose the healthiest oil that will also taste great?

Overall, vegetable oils used for cooking are generally healthy because they originate from plants. The healthiest of oils contain the most monounsaturated fats, are less refined and are higher in nutrients. These include virgin olive oil, peanut, canola, flaxseed, walnut, hemp, avocado and almond oils. Labels of “extra virgin” or “unrefined” means the oil is less processed and therefore contains even more nutrients.

An important factor in ensuring you are cooking oils in a healthy manner depends on whether or not the recipe requires heating your ingredients. High temperatures will cause the nutritional profile of oils to break down and change, becoming less healthy, so it is important to choose the appropriate oil for each application.

Oils that have a higher smoke point (temperature at which they burn) are the best for cooking at high temperatures. Grapeseed, camelina, vegetable, canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, peanut or a refined olive oil have a higher smoke point and are better for sautéing vegetables, such as onions or mushrooms, stir-frying, deep frying or using in any baked or cooked dishes. Recipes that do not require heat to prepare the dish, such as salads, dips and dressings, can use oils that are purer and less refined, including extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed, walnut and hemp oil.


Preparing and rehydrating dried beans, instead of buying the canned variety, has great advantages. First, dried beans are much less expensive. On average, one pound (half a kilogram) of dried beans is half the price of canned beans. Second, you might opt for dried beans if you’re concerned about the additives. The canning process adds a lot of salt to properly preserve the beans, and although you can rinse much of it off when you drain the can, you can avoid it entirely by using dried beans. Third, many cans are still lined with Bisphenol A, more commonly referred to as BPA. Overexposure to BPA may be a health concern. Food manufacturers have been slow to change this, so if you can avoid canned goods, we recommend it.

Dried beans are full of nutrients and easy to simmer into soups, stews, casseroles and countless meatless meals. Black-eyed peas are easy to cook and in 45 to 50 minutes you can have delicious cooked beans, no soaking required. Lima beans or large white beans don’t hold together well and tend to fall apart, so they are better for puréed soups, dips or sauces. We recommend cooking beans in larger batches and freezing them (for up to 3 months) for fast meal prep so you’re never disappointed by forgetting to soak them!

How to Prepare Beans

Soaking dried beans for 24 hours or overnight will soften and prepare them for cooking. To soak, first clean and rinse the beans, then pla
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sweeter and tenderer when I was young, and even when I grow them myself nowadays they are not as good as they were. Frozen petits pois peas are as reliable as any for this recipe and many others.

Serves 4

3 cups shelled peas (about 3 pounds peas in pods)

1 cup tiny explorer potatoes

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 bunch chervil with leaves and stems

1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon butter

Rinse and drain the peas. With a knife scrape the potatoes clean and cook them in a saucepan of boiling salted water to cover. Remove them after 15 minutes, when they are not quite done. Plunge the peas into another pan of boiling water seasoned with the sugar. Add the chervil and do not cover. Boil rapidly until the peas are done and the hulls are tender. Drain, return them to the pan, and add the potatoes. Pour in the heavy cream and cook gently without boiling for 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the rest of the meal is being finished. Add the tablespoon of butter. Stir and serve hot, garnished with leaves of finely cut chervil.

Fresh Green Peas with Vidalia Onions

I have only known about these sweet onions for ten years or so, but ever since I first tasted them I have loved them. While Vidalia onions are available until November, they are most plentiful in May and June. The onions grow in the region of Vidalia, Georgia, where the soil is just right to produce a sweet-tasting onion; if the same seed is planted elsewhere, the onions are sharp. I think the flavors of sweet spring peas and sweet onions go together perfectly and this combination has become one of my favorite dishes—as nearly anyone who I have cooked for in the last few years knows quite well. The best time to cut the center from the steamed onions is after they have cooled. The onion may fall apart if you try to cut the center from it while it is hot.

Serves 4 to 6

4 to 6 medium Vidalia onions

1 pound fresh peas, shelled

1 tablespoon sugar

7 or 8 stalks chervil, with leaves

1 good tablespoon butter

⅔ cup heavy cream


Put about 3 inches of water in a 2-quart steamer. Peel the skin off the onions and score the bottom with an X, then place in the steamer. Cover tightly and steam over medium-high heat for about 20 minutes, until the onions are tender. Take them from the pan and let them cool on a plate before cutting out the centers with a sharp knife to make a cup for the peas.

Pour ¾ cup of water into the saucepan and bring to a rapid boil. Add the peas, sugar, and chervil. Cook, uncovered, until the peas are tender. Drain, remove the chervil, then add the butter and shake the pan to coat the peas evenly with butter. Stir in the cream and season to taste with salt. Place an onion cup on each plate and spoon a generous amount of peas into the center of each. Spoon a little more around the outside of the onions. Reheat before serving.

Sweet Green Pea Soup

Soup made with tender garden peas tastes quite different from pea soup made with dried peas. It is not as thick and the blending of peas and chervil gives it a crisp, fresh flavor that holds up whether the soup is served hot or cold. I like to garnish the light-tasting soup with small dabs of unsweetened whipped cream.

Serves 4

1½ pounds sugar snap peas in the pods

5 cups water

½ cup packed sprigs chervil

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1 cup julienned romaine lettuce

½ cup unsweetened whipped cream (optional)

Rinse the peas, drain, and shell them. Heat the water to boiling in a large saucepan, and add the peas and shells. Stir in the chervil, sugar, and pepper, and cook briskly, uncovered, for 15 minutes, until the peas are tender. Cool the soup and pour it into a blender. Blend until liquefied, then push the soup through a sieve to hold back any undesirable pieces from the peas and the pods. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and taste for seasoning. Stir in the romaine lettuce and heat the soup, if you plan to serve it hot. If you plan to serve it cold, chill it until ready to serve. Spoon a little whipped cream in each soup bowl just before serving, if you like.

Creamed Scallions

Growing up, we would sow onion seed in the garden and then thin a lot of them out before their bulbs got too big. We chopped them up, sautéed them in bacon fat, poured in heavy cream, and ate them for breakfast. This recipe is not quite as rich as that, but uses scallions in a way that tastes just delicious. In my opinion, they are an underused vegetable and taste almost as good today as they did years ago. I buy scallions that are about the size of a pencil but if they are a little thicker they still taste good.

Serves 5

About 30 medium scallions

3 tablespoons cold water

⅔ cup heavy cream

¼ teaspoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon finely cut parsley, for garnish

Clean the scallions by removi


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