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I thought I would continue an earlier post, divided up into part 1 and part 2, on recent books surrounding food issues that seem to be so very prevalent in our society, as there are some new interesting sounding books I’ve seen around. There was also a request from one of these earlier posts to include a short description of each book, so I’ll do that from now on too. Here goes…

•Food Security for the Faint of Heart written by Robin Wheeler, published by New Society Publishers, 2008. Wheeler, a BC resident, permaculture activist, author, teacher and founder of the Sustainable Living Arts School, writes about the trip to the grocery store we all so often take for granted. What would we do if there was no grocery store? Where would we get our food? She tries to empower her readers into re-gaining control over their food and where it comes from with chapters such as “Preserving garden food” and “Saving freezer food during a power outage”.

• The Omnivores’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals is written by Michael Pollan, published in 2007 by Penguin Press. Simply put, Pollan as a self-proclaimed omnivore, writes a narrative work in which he evaluates where his dinner could come from; specifically from fast-food/industrial, organic, or self-gathered.  Pollan also wrote In Defense of Food which I mentioned in part 1, and Botany of Desire in 2002.

• The End of Food: How the Food Industry is Destroying Our Food Supply and What You Can Do About It by Thomas F. Pawlick. I like the look of the table of contents of this book because though it starts off with chapters titled “The End of Food”, “Collateral Damage” and “The X Files” and a little tale about a tomato that won’t ripen and bounces like a red tennis ball, which all sounds pretty grim (necessary to read, but grim just the same) he follows these with chapters of solutions, called “Think Locally, Fight Locally”  and “Being Human”. I like it already. BONUS: there is an interesting interview of the author by Malcolm Jolley on Gremolata.

• Slow Food Nation by Carlo Petrini, with Forward by Alice Waters, published in 2007. Petrini has written a stack of other books on the slow food movement, is the founder and driving force of Slow Food and was recently acclaimed as a great innovator in Time Magazine’s list of European Heroes.  Slow Food Nation teaches it’s readers about the ways in which they can re-gain control of what they’re eating. BONUS: see a little youtube clip of Petrini.

And if you want to ponder the world of food in a different way, you can check out Food by John Knechtel, Editor, and Director of Alphabet City Media in Toronto, Canada. This book puts together a variety of both visual artist and writers examinations of food: healthy food, unhealthy food, new food, old food, food with emotional ties, food as it’s told from different peoples points of view. What a novel concept; this will most certainly be my next purchase. Knechtel has also edited books on the topics and appropriately titled Trash, Fuel and Suspect.

Happy reading!

~ j

I was in Duthie Books on 4th Avenue yesterday shopping for a new book, and was amazed at the number of non-fiction (and even a few fiction) food related books out in print. It seems our eating local, sugar-less, carb-less, gluten-less and raw eating regimes that have recently reached the mainstream have also exploded a wide array of books on various related topics. They seem to range from informative, to provocative, to even somewhat accusatory.

© 2008 Jackie Connelly

I fully subscribe to the importance and relevance of all of these eating plans, and doing the research to discover what is right for your body; as a woman I am constantly striving to curb my sugar cravings and eat more naturally sweetened foods; I discovered I was lactose intolerant at age 16 so am constantly aware of dairy-alternatives; and at age 24 developed a wheat sensitivity deduced from 6 sinus infections in one year plus stomach issues so I have gone through the trials of spelt, kamut, and other non-wheat carbs. Plus a client recently lent me The Whole Soy Story by Kaayla T. Daniel following which I eradicated the many, many soy products I was eating on a daily basis. So, if anyone is open and wiling to promote the mainstreaming of knowledge as it relates to food and choosing an eating plan that works for your individual health and your individual beliefs, I’m all for it.

I thought I’d hunker down and read a few of these new books (a long 13hour flight in the summer travel plans coming up soon…a post in the coming weeks will share more) , but I wanted to see if anyone has reviews, thoughts, even friends thoughts, on any of them? Here’s a few that I’ve seen…

The 100 Mile Diet: A year of local eating by Alisa Smith & J.B. Mackinnon (Random House Canada, 2007). (The US edition is titled Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally). From keeping current on the local food & farmers market scene here in Vancouver and on the web, I am familiar with this pairs quest. The 100 Mile Diet is an experiment that these two authors went through: for one year they would eat only food produced within 100 miles of their Vancouver home. And then they put pen to paper.

Ecoholic: Your Guide to the Most Environmentally Friendly Information, Products and Services in Canada by Adria Vasil (Random House Canada, 2007). Though this book isn’t solely food-based, there are interesting sections including: ‘The Most Helpful Services’ noting several green general stores and local, organic food delivery; and ‘The Most Current Information’ which includes sub-sections on sustainable seafood, meat and veggie choices, and buying pesticide- free food.

Formula for Health by Paul Nison. My food stylist Scot Roger recently reviewed this book for The Epoch Times (July issue), and after having listed to Mr. Nison speak at the Raw Food Health Lecture, was surprised to hear him say that it’s not just about the food. Scot explains “In his latest book Formula for Health Nison shows us that the beginning signs of disease are laziness and constipation, while the leading causes of disease are overeating and under sleeping…The key to health is to make the body work less to get more…this is where the raw food lifestyle comes in. Eating high quality food that is raw, ripe,
fresh, organic and alive is the key to unlocking the power inside all of us.”

In Defense of Food: An Eaters Manifesto by Michael Pollan (Penguin Press, 2008). This book caught me just by the cover photo: a crisp, obviously local head of lettuce (from the yellow ‘organic’ twist-tie), wet leaves with a perfect white to green gradient, with deep purple ends. This book is essentially Part 2 of Pollan’s work, picking up where his previous The Omnivore’s Dilemma left off. Pollan writes about the relation between the industrialization of our food supply and the degradation of the environment; the question of what to eat from the perspective of health; what the giant markeing machine has to do with it all, and comes to a seemingly simple conclusion: “eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. From what I’ve read about it Pollan seems to write less about his opinion surrouding these food issues, but more to let the facts speak for themselves.

And there are so many more…An Apple a Day by Joe Schwartz, Slow Food Nation by Alice Waters, The End of Food by Thomas F. Pawlick, Stuffed and Starved by Raj Patel, Bottomfeeder by Taras Grescoe…and the list goes on. (Fabulous titles I might add.)

Have you read any of these? Or any others you can tell us about? What are your thoughts?

Happy eating and happy reading…J