YumSugarSource: Food Fight: 6 Books That Delve Deep Into What We Eat
Perhaps you already frequent your neighborhood farmers market for the freshest seasonal produce and humanely raised organic meat. But have you taken the time to assess the reasoning (aside from taste) behind these lifestyle choices? Keep reading for our favorite picks for educating oneself on the politics of the plate.
- Tomatoland: Ever wondered why modern supermarket tomatoes pale in comparison to their robustly flavored farmers market counterparts? In Tomatoland ($13), author Barry Estabrook examines that, as well as expands on his James Beard Award-winning article "The Price of Tomatoes," detailing the horrifying human and environmental cost of today's tomato farming industry. Spoiler alert: Estabrook reveals that some workers are literally enslaved by their employers.
- Farm City: Do you support the local sustainable food movement but find it at times a bit too precious and preachy? Dive in to Farm City ($17), Novella Carpenter's rollicking memoir of self-subsistence in the urban ghetto of Oakland. In an all-too-rare feat, Carpenter's prose reads as conversational and often humorous, while still managing to tackle serious issues that our food system faces.
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- Fast Food Nation: Skip the mostly panned movie adaptation and instead read Fast Food Nation ($18), the eye-opening book that brought the horrors of the fast food industry to light over 10 years ago. While the subject matter might be tough to stomach, author Eric Schlosser's accessible voice and in-depth reporting make this examination of an industry gone awry a page turner.
- Eating Animals: Much-lauded fiction writer Jonathan Safran Foer's memoir Eating Animals ($17) details his personal struggle to determine if eating animals can in fact be ethical. Spurred on by impending parenthood, Safran Foer takes readers along through his journey to determine how best to feed his family in an increasingly complicated food system.
- The Omnivore's Dilemma: If I could recommend just one book out of the bunch, Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma ($18) would be it. This award-winning look at four meals sourced from dramatically different food systems (McDonald's; Whole Foods; a local, sustainable, organic, pasture-raised animal farm; and a meal entirely foraged by Pollan) manages to be informational, detailed, and devoid of preachy pretense.
- Food Matters: Leave it to the king of comprehensive cookbooks to not only astutely outline his arguments for conscious eating, but to also provide recipes that fit within its framework. Food Matters ($11) might not be groundbreaking in its viewpoints, but the book provides a practical and accessible look at how to implement dietary change both for the health of the planet and the people who inhabit it.
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