A New York Think Tank Recommends 19 New Food Related Books
Getty This month Food Tank suggests reading any of 19 new books related to food and the food system. Consider these if you want to step off the mainstream trail of perusing books dedicated only to existing niches—such as cooking and travel. These books highlight connections between what you eat and where—and how—you live. In addition to my own brief book blurbs below, Jared Kaufman of Food Tank has added his own comments about each book here. American Cuisine: And How It Got This Way—Paul Freedman To be released in October, Freedman focuses on how regionality, standardization and variety shaped the existing diversity and often exuberance of cuisine within the U.S. In the early 20th century, industrial revolution techniques helped homogenize American food, while in the ‘food revolution’ that kicked off in California in the 1970’s, that same associated blandness was rejected and partially supplanted. Beautiful photographs included. Released this month, this book tells of reconnecting with the natural world through observing it more keenly, and by learning about the world of bees. The U.K. author writes how she was ‘preoccupied with the chattering in my own mind, and getting to work on time,’ and realized that she had become oblivious to the diversity of wildlife surrounding her. This praise of the natural world highlights a creature—the bee—that is also essential to different levels of the food chain. Vegetables ready for cooking Getty Getty Published this month, this book was written by a Vermont couple about their years of ‘regenerative farming’ on a farm originally established in 1809 near the Green Mountains. From discussing beekeeping to juicing black currants, the story is also about relationships between landscape and people, as well as about techniques for improved land stewardship. Food and Sustainability in the Twenty-First Century: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives—edited by Paul Collinson, Iain Young, Lucy Antal, and Helen Macbeth This book is the ninth volume in a series regarding the ‘anthropology of food and nutrition.’ The 14 chapters cover topics that include food insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Mediterranean Diet concept, organic food in Palermo, food sustainability in the U.K., merits of Ethiopian bread, and the impact of the economic crisis within Spain on regional food practices. The range of topics is diverse and intriguing. Food or War—Julian Cribb Published by Cambridge University Press in August, this tells how lack of food historically led to war; it also highlights how new and improved food production and delivery systems can accommodate the planet’s growing population. Food Routes—Robyn Metcalfe From MIT Press, the subtitle tells much: ‘Growing Bananas in Iceland and Other Tales from the Logistics of Eating.’ Written by a woman whose family moved from Silicon Valley to rural Maine to run a farm for a decade, and who wondered why restaurants do not routinely purchase local ingredients—her story describes the global food supply chain that feeds 90% of the world’s population. It also tells of its need for reinvention. Organic vegetable peppers Getty Getty This book from Island Press addresses eating in seven U.S. cities, within the following seven states: Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Idaho, Alaska, Ohio, Florida and Maine. It is about how ‘food is a big part of a community’s identity.’ Written by a former director of the Hartford Food System—it tells how a ‘food revolution’ is taking place in the U.S., and how many elected officials are recognizing the economic contributions of food to their communities. Food Wise—Gigi Berardi To be released in January of 2020, this guide to ‘sustainable and delicious food choices’ points to the value of the home garden and kitchen, and questions the benefits of popular diets. Berardi is a professor at Huxley College in Western Washington University, where she focuses on topics that include rural ecology. Girl on the Block—Jessica Wragg To be published in October, this is the compelling story of how a 16-year-old girl became a butcher in England. Her 14-hour days were immersed in a male world that was not initially welcoming. On her first day, she writes: ‘All six of the men in white coats stopped their work as we got closer and began to sharpen their knives. No one spoke.’ Between anecdotes such as when, on the job, she held a knife for the first time, this easy and novel read also tells of the history of butchers in the U.K. Going Over Home—Charles D. Thompson Jr. To be released in October, this book tells of growing up in a family of farmers in Virginia and learning through experience the beauties and ugliness of rural economies. A field of broccoli in Canada. © 2019 Bloomberg Finance LP © 2019 Bloomberg Finance LP The 17 included chapters address ‘natural capital’ and its relationship to ‘green growth.’ Topics include policies, regulatory mechanisms, water funds, and market-based mechanisms. Case studies are highlighted in chapters about Costa Rica, China, the U.S., the U.K. and the Caribbean. The Labor of Lunch—Jennifer E. Gaddis Published by University of California Press, this book tackles the topic of food in American public schools. Author Gaddis addresses not only meals, but those who serve them—school lunch workers. This, she writes, is because ‘The quality of their jobs and the quality of the food they serve are interlinked.’ Chapters cover the history of school lunches, the role of large food providers and the creation of improved food economies. The Little Local New Orleans Cookbook—Stephanie Carter Covering drinks, appetizers, soups, sandwiches, sides, main courses, brunch and desserts—and colorfully illustrated with drawings—you can flip through this book’s pages and choose recipes to try that include crawfish bread, tailgate shrimp pasta and Creole gumbo. Meat Planet—Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft This is about creating artificial meat (‘laboratory created hamburgers’) and the potential impacts of that industry on the future world. The author writes: ‘This meat’s utter weirdness cannot be overstated. Meat that never had parents.’ The relation of humans to hunting and cooking meat is discussed, as well as the existing economics of meat production and past scarcity of meat abundance. The future of eating is about to change. Chicken eggs Getty Getty To be published in November, this tells of the link between indigenous peoples and immigrants to the abundant seafood in the Pacific Northwest. It then provides instructions for cooking fish, shellfish and other marine fare—including sea urchins, squid and scallops. Think crab mofongo, or salmon pot pie. Illustrated with beautiful photos. Uncultivated: Wild Apples, Real Cider, and the Complicated Art of Making a Living—Andy Brennan The world of apples and cider is told by an author who considers the connection between humans and trees as important to appreciate the natural world in which we live. Written by a devotee to orchards and apples, this is a tale of a professional cider maker who studied forestry and is eager to share his passion for cider and trees. We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast—Jonathan Safran Foer How does climate change relate to breakfast? Read and learn. This book includes snippets of history, science, politics and discussions of social norms to make the case that social change involves multiple chain reactions occurring simultaneously, bolstered by feedback loops as well as individuals who decide—and then act—to make a change. Corn cob Getty Getty Sub-titled ‘Rethinking Dinner, Worship, and the Community of God,’ this book tells of feasts described in gospels and how churches have lost food as central to their focus. It then tells how movements are underway to once again assure the intersection of faith with meals. Wilted—Julie Guthman The subtitle describes the book’s contents: ‘Pathogens, Chemicals, and the Fragile Future of the Strawberry Industry.’ The text tells of the history of the strawberry industry in California, and how toxic fumigants have become a threat not only to the environment, but to the future of that industry.