Sunday, September 11, 2011

End of Summer Book Review

Remember back in June when I told you about my summer reading list? No? Check it out, here. I can proudly report that I finished my entire summer reading list (just one week past Labor Day) and even added one title to the list! Unfortunately, all the documentaries are still on my list of "to-do". Movies were harder to fit into my schedule, I guess.

Universally, the books were all solid reads. Here are some short summaries:

  • Tomatoland by Barry Estabrook: An incredibly well-written much so that even though the topic might seem specific, Estabrook makes it both horrific and utterly compelling at the same time. Traces how tomatoes grow, the rise of the tomato "industry" and the conditions of workers in the tomato fields of Florida. A really good read to understand how your individual food "decisions" can impact a variety of people and causes. I want to make all my friends read it. Watch it, I'll be pushing it on you (yes, you) next!
  • The Feast Nearby by Robin Mather: A delightfully easy read of vignettes on living "local" and affordably.  Not only are the short stories homey and warm, but the recipes and techniques for cooking simply are actually useful. Practical tips on everything from canning to drying to purchasing eco-conscious coffee. Not to mention Mather is a master of eating extremely well (no dessert skipping or vegetarian diets here!) on a very small budget.
  • Fair Food by Oran Hesterman: A comprehensive resource guide for anyone involved, or looking to become involved, in creating a food system that respects workers, localities and health. Short chapters explain specific areas and the appendix contains loads of links to further resources. Good for both individuals looking to inform their purchasing decisions and advocates wanting to take a larger role in the fight for a sustainable food system.
  • Food Justice by Robert Gottlieb: Reads somewhat like a university text, although a bit less dry. Definitely for someone looking to devote more time and energy to the movement.
  • Edible by Edible Publication: Featured stories culled from the Edible magazine publications across the nation. Half of the book is composed of local food recipes arranged by season.  I enjoyed it, but I think a subscription to your local Edible publication would serve a similar purpose and be more relatable to the produce growing in your area.

I also enjoyed American Wasteland by Jonathan Bloom. Of all the books I read this summer, this probably effected my life the most. An eye-opener on the amount of food we carelessly discard. See my review for Zomppa here.

So, what's next?
Poisoned by Jeff Benedict about the E. Coli outbreak and Jack-in-the-Box tragedy in California in the 1990s.
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadima, recommended by one of my nutrition professors, this book is not about food, but instead on understanding cultures and cultural differences as a means to better communication. In the book's case study, a medical case featuring a Hmong child and American doctors frames the cultural clash. Because my classes and interactions deal with so many different individuals from a variety of backgrounds, I thought it would be an excellent addition to my library.

More recommendations for me? Shout them out in the comments or on the Food Fighters Facebook page!

1 comment:

  1. Poisoned is AWESOME. I mean, not that it happened, but so well written. I gotta read Wasteland. A fun eat book? Aphrodite by Isabel Allende - it may get you hot and bothered, but a fascinating look at food and passion.