In The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan writes about how our food is grown -- what it is, in fact, that we are eating. The book is really three in one: The first section discusses industrial farming; the second, organic food, both as big business and on a relatively small farm; and the third, what it is like to hunt and gather food for oneself. And each section culminates in a meal -- a cheeseburger and fries from McDonald's; roast chicken, vegetables and a salad from Whole Foods; and grilled chicken, corn and a chocolate soufflé (made with fresh eggs) from a sustainable farm; and, finally, mushrooms and pork, foraged from the wild.
We needn't learn how to shoot our own pigs, as Pollan does; there's hope in other ways -- farmers' markets, the Slow Food movement, restaurants supplied by local farms. To Pollan, the omnivore's dilemma is twofold: what we choose to eat ("What should we have for dinner?" he asks in the opening sentence of his book) and how we let that food be produced. His book is an eater's manifesto, and he touches on a vast array of subjects, from food fads and taboos to our avoidance of not only our food's animality, but also our own. Along the way, he is alert to his own emotions and thoughts, to see how they affect what he does and what he eats, to learn more and to explain what he knows. His approach is steeped in honesty and self-awareness. His cause is just, his thinking is clear, and his writing is compelling.
Be careful of your dinner! Bunny Crumpacker
Eat food, not too much, mostly plants...this has been my (food) mantra ever since reading this book.
Food is the one thing that Americans hate to love and, as it turns out, love to hate. What we want to eat has been ousted by the notion of what we should eat, and it's at this nexus of hunger and hang-up that Michael Pollan poses his most salient question: where is the food in our food? What follows in In Defense of Food is a series of wonderfully clear and thoughtful answers that help us navigate the nutritional minefield that's come to typify our food culture. Many processed foods vie for a spot in our grocery baskets, claiming to lower cholesterol, weight, glucose levels, you name it. Yet Pollan shows that these convenient "healthy" alternatives to whole foods are appallingly inconvenient: our health as a nation has only deteriorated since we started exiling carbs, fats--even fruits--from our daily meals. His razor-sharp analysis of the American diet (as well as its architects and its detractors) offers an inspiring glimpse of what it would be like if we could (a la Humpty Dumpty) put our food back together again and reconsider what it means to eat well. -Anne Bartholomew
AND....a third book that rocked my kitchen...the most beautiful, sexy, intoxicating cookbook I have ever read:
In this exquisitely designed and photographed volume, Britain's favourite Italian chef brings forth the work of a lifetime: combining old Locatelli family stories and recipes with the contemporary must-have dishes from his celebrated London restaurants. 'I am an Italian chef who has cooked in Paris and come of age in London,' says Giorgio Locatelli.
'Innovative, imaginative food is what people expect from me, but everything I do has its roots in classical, regional Italian cooking.' This is the book that fans of Locatelli have been waiting for ever since he first made his name at Zafferano. The recent opening of Locanda Locatelli, widely regarded as one of the most exciting restaurants in London, has fuelled interest in this master chef. Locatelli lights up Locanda with his big, welcoming personality, seamlessly marrying style with an all-Italian mission simply to bring people together at the table to share food, relax and enjoy good company and conversation. In the same way, his delight in food shines through on every page of this exciting new book. Whether he is reminiscing about the dishes of his native Lombardy, suggesting a starter combining the simplest and freshest ingredients, or explaining how to make the ultimate risotto, Locatelli transports the reader into his own kitchen to savour the real tastes of Italy. Full of the insight and historical detail you might expect from a food writer, combined with the hands-on expertise of a top chef, peppered with evocative stories, and funny and often outspoken observations on the state of food today, this is the contemporary Italian food bible, from the acknowledged master of modern Italian cooking.