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Winter Break Books... on Food

Dec 29, 2010 by Erin M. | Story Popularity: 1

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Besides coming home, the best part of school breaks is actually having time to read whatever I want (and not just scientific papers!). I finally got to delve into books I've had on my shelf for months:

1) In Defense of Food (Michael Pollan, 2008)
2) Food and Fuel: Solutions for the Future (Andrew Heintzman, Evan Solomon, and Eric Schlosser, 2009)
3) The Omnivore's Dilemma (Pollan, 2007)

The last time I made a post about books a couple of people asked me to share about what I thought about the books, so I thought I'd give a brief comment on each one...

1) In Defense of Food: I got this book at the same time as Omnivore's Dilemma but because I was having some trouble getting into Omnivore's Dilemma, I started REALLY reading this one first instead. To my surprise, I really enjoyed it, a lot more than the Omnivore's Dilemma. It is straight to the point and succinctly describes a philosophy about food I've begun to ascribe to but never really knew the full details of why. Maybe what he's saying isn't novel to the rest of the world but it was pretty eye-opening to me. I definitely recommend this one.

2) Food and Fuel: The only reason I got this book was because I spotted it for $2 at a used book sale in SB. The first half of the book is a collection of essays on the state of food, with a focus on the US and Canada. The second half of the book is about energy. I found that half pretty overwhelming and inaccessible. Overall I don't recommend this book. I can barely even remember what I read from it!

3) The Omnivore's Dilemma: After a failed attempt to get into this book this summer, I forced myself into it again this break. I think the descriptive nature of Pollan's writing here was a little too much for me, but once I got into certain chapters that peaked my interest more than others (in particular the ones about the organic industry and the ethics of eating meat, since I used to be a vegetarian for many years), I started to enjoy the book a lot more. I actually learned a lot about the organic industry, sustainable farming and foraging (which I was never really introduced to before). All in all I do recommend this book after all.

With my few days left of break I'm moving onto Earth Democracy by Dr. Vandana Shiva and then some non-food books. Any other suggestions? In particular I'm interested in other books by Pollan like the Botany of Desire and Food Rules... also was curious about Marion Nestle's books.

What are other people out there reading?



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  1. Olin Lagon says:

    Great list! I love Michael Pollen's books. His book The Botany of Desire is also great. If you have a Netflix account, I think the PBS documentary based on this book is still on the free watch now list.

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