Food for thought. Books that makes you think about what you put in your mouth

The food we eat is who we are. Vegan or jerky lover, this shelf is for everyone
food history-of-food foodies food-for-thought conscious-eating
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Lesser Beasts: A Snout-to-Tail History of the Humble Pig

by Mark Essig

About the book:  Unlike other barnyard animals, which pull plows, give eggs or milk, or grow wool, a pig produces only one thing: meat. Incredibly efficient at converting almost any organic matter into nourishing, delectable protein, swine are nothing short of a gastronomic godsend—yet their flesh is banned in many cultures, and the animals themselves are maligned as filthy, lazy brutes.As historian Mark Essig reveals in Lesser Beasts, swine have such a bad reputation for precisely the same reasons they are so valuable as a source of food: they are intelligent, self-sufficient, and omnivorous. What’s more, he argues, we ignore our historic partnership with these astonishing animals at our peril. Tracing the interplay of pig biology and human culture from Neolithic villages 10,000 years ago to modern industrial farms, Essig blends culinary and natural history to demonstrate the vast importance of the pig and the tragedy of its modern treatment at the hands of humans. Pork, Essig explains, has long been a staple of the human diet, prized in societies from Ancient Rome to dynastic China to the contemporary American South. Yet pigs’ ability to track down and eat a wide range of substances (some of them distinctly unpalatable to humans) and convert them into edible meat has also led people throughout history to demonize the entire species as craven and unclean. Today’s unconscionable system of factory farming, Essig explains, is only the latest instance of humans taking pigs for granted, and the most recent evidence of how both pigs and people suffer when our symbiotic relationship falls out of balance.An expansive, illuminating history of one of our most vital yet unsung food animals, Lesser Beasts turns a spotlight on the humble creature that, perhaps more than any other, has been a mainstay of civilization since its very beginnings—whether we like it or not.


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The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

by UK Published

About the book:  One of the New York Times Book Review's Ten Best Books of the Year Winner of the James Beard Award Author of #1 New York Times Bestsellers In Defense of Food and Food RulesWhat should we have for dinner? Ten years ago, Michael Pollan confronted us with this seemingly simple question and, with The Omnivore’s Dilemma, his brilliant and eye-opening exploration of our food choices, demonstrated that how we answer it today may determine not only our health but our survival as a species. In the years since, Pollan’s revolutionary examination has changed the way Americans think about food. Bringing wide attention to the little-known but vitally important dimensions of food and agriculture in America, Pollan launched a national conversation about what we eat and the profound consequences that even the simplest everyday food choices have on both ourselves and the natural world. Ten years later, The Omnivore’s Dilemma continues to transform the way Americans think about the politics, perils, and pleasures of eating.


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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

by Barbara Kingsolver,Camille Kingsolver,Steven L. Hopp

About the book:  Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life—vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an enthralling narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.


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Eating Animals

by Jonathan Safran Foer

About the book:  Like many young Americans, Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between enthusiastic carnivore and occasional vegetarian. As he became a husband, and then a father, the moral dimensions of eating became increasingly important to him. Faced with the prospect of being unable to explain why we eat some animals and not others, Foer set out to explore the origins of many eating traditions and the fictions involved with creating them. Traveling to the darkest corners of our dining habits, Foer raises the unspoken question behind every fish we eat, every chicken we fry, and every burger we grill. Part memoir and part investigative report, Eating Animals is a book that, in the words of the Los Angeles Times, places Jonathan Safran Foer "at the table with our greatest philosophers."


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Pig Tales: An Omnivores Quest for Sustainable Meat

by Barry Estabrook

About the book:  “Illuminating, a window into the world of pigs and pig farmers that every American omnivore needs to read.” ―Ruth Reichl, author of Delicious!Barry Estabrook, author of the New York Times bestseller Tomatoland and a writer of “great skill and compassion” (Eric Schlosser), now explores the dark side of the American pork industry. Drawing on his personal experiences raising pigs as well as his sharp investigative instincts, Estabrook covers the range of the human-porcine experience. He embarks on nocturnal feral pig hunts in Texas. He visits farmers who raise animals in vast confinement barns for Smithfield and Tyson, two of the country’s biggest pork producers. And he describes the threat of infectious disease and the possible contamination of our food supply. Through these stories shines Estabrook’s abiding love for these remarkable creatures. Pigs are social, self-aware, and playful, not to mention smart enough to master the typical house dog commands of “sit, stay, come” twice as fast as your average pooch. With the cognitive abilities of at least three-year-olds, they can even learn to operate a modified computer. Unfortunately for the pigs, they’re also delicious to eat.Estabrook shows how these creatures are all too often subjected to lives of suffering in confinement and squalor, sustained on a drug-laced diet just long enough to reach slaughter weight, then killed on mechanized disassembly lines. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Pig Tales presents a lively portrait of those farmers who are taking an alternative approach, like one Danish producer that has a far more eco-friendly and humane system of pork production, and new, small family farms with free-range heritage pigs raised on antibiotic-free diets. It is possible to raise pigs responsibly and respectfully in a way that is good for producers, consumers, and some of the top chefs in America.Provocative, witty, and deeply informed, Pig Tales is bound to spark conversation at dinner tables across America.


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Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture

by Jeremy Rifkin

About the book:  Traces the history of human beef consumption and asks why Western civilization continues to raise and eat the cattle that threaten the global environment, human health, and economic stability. 35,000 first printing. National ad/promo. Tour.


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The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution

by Alice WatersPatricia CurtanKelsie KerrFritz Streiff

About the book:  Perhaps more responsible than anyone for the revolution in the way we eat, cook, and think about food, Alice Waters has “single-handedly chang[ed] the American palate” according to the New York Times. Her simple but inventive dishes focus on a passion for flavor and a reverence for locally produced, seasonal foods.With an essential repertoire of timeless, approachable recipes chosen to enhance and showcase great ingredients, The Art of Simple Food is an indispensable resource for home cooks. Here you will find Alice’s philosophy on everything from stocking your kitchen, to mastering fundamentals and preparing delicious, seasonal inspired meals all year long. Always true to her philosophy that a perfect meal is one that’s balanced in texture, color, and flavor, Waters helps us embrace the seasons’ bounty and make the best choices when selecting ingredients. Fill your market basket with pristine produce, healthful grains, and responsibly raised meat, poultry, and seafood, then embark on a voyage of culinary rediscovery that reminds us that the most gratifying dish is often the least complex.


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The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution

by Alice WatersPatricia CurtanKelsie KerrFritz Streiff

About the book:  Perhaps more responsible than anyone for the revolution in the way we eat, cook, and think about food, Alice Waters has “single-handedly chang[ed] the American palate” according to the New York Times. Her simple but inventive dishes focus on a passion for flavor and a reverence for locally produced, seasonal foods.With an essential repertoire of timeless, approachable recipes chosen to enhance and showcase great ingredients, The Art of Simple Food is an indispensable resource for home cooks. Here you will find Alice’s philosophy on everything from stocking your kitchen, to mastering fundamentals and preparing delicious, seasonal inspired meals all year long. Always true to her philosophy that a perfect meal is one that’s balanced in texture, color, and flavor, Waters helps us embrace the seasons’ bounty and make the best choices when selecting ingredients. Fill your market basket with pristine produce, healthful grains, and responsibly raised meat, poultry, and seafood, then embark on a voyage of culinary rediscovery that reminds us that the most gratifying dish is often the least complex.


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Meatonomics

by David Robinson Simon

About the book:  Few consumers are aware of the economic forces behind the production of meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. Yet omnivore and herbivore alike, the forces of meatonomics affect us in many ways.Most importantly, we’ve lost the ability to decide for ourselves what – and how much – to eat.  Those decisions are made for us by animal food producers who control our buying choices with artificially-low prices, misleading messaging, and heavy control over legislation and regulation. Learn how and why they do it and how you can respond.Written in a clear and accessible style, Meatonomics provides vital insight into how the economics of animal food production influence our spending, eating, health, prosperity, and longevity.Meatonomics is the first book to add up the huge “externalized” costs that the animal food system imposes on taxpayers, animals and the environment, and it finds these costs total about $414 billion yearly. With yearly retail sales of around $250 billion, that means that for every $1 of product they sell, meat and dairy producers impose almost $2 in hidden costs on the rest of us.  But if producers were forced to internalize these costs, a $4 Big Mac would cost about $11.


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In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

by Michael Pollan

About the book:  #1 New York Times BestsellerFood. There's plenty of it around, and we all love to eat it. So why should anyone need to defend it?Because in the so-called Western diet, food has been replaced by nutrients, and common sense by confusion--most of what we’re consuming today is longer the product of nature but of food science. The result is what Michael Pollan calls the American Paradox: The more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we see to become. With In Defense of Food, Pollan proposes a new (and very old) answer to the question of what we should eat that comes down to seven simple but liberating words: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Pollan’s bracing and eloquent manifesto shows us how we can start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich our lives, enlarge our sense of what it means to be healthy, and bring pleasure back to eating."Michael Pollan [is the] designated repository for the nation's food conscience."-Frank Bruni, The New York Times" A remarkable volume . . . engrossing . . . [Pollan] offers those prescriptions Americans so desperately crave."-The Washington Post"A tough, witty, cogent rebuttal to the proposition that food can be redced to its nutritional components without the loss of something essential... [a] lively, invaluable book."--Janet Maslin, The New York Times"In Defense of Food is written with Pollan's customary bite, ringing clarity and brilliance at connecting the dots."-The Seattle TimesMichael Pollan’s newest book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation--the story of our most trusted food expert’s culinary education--was published by The Penguin Press in April 2013.


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The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World

by Michael Pollan

About the book:  The book that helped make Michael Pollan, the New York Times bestselling author of Cooked and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, one of the most trusted food experts in AmericaEvery schoolchild learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers: The bee collects nectar and pollen to make honey and, in the process, spreads the flowers’ genes far and wide. In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan ingeniously demonstrates how people and domesticated plants have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship. He masterfully links four fundamental human desires—sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control—with the plants that satisfy them: the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato. In telling the stories of four familiar species, Pollan illustrates how the plants have evolved to satisfy humankind’s most basic yearnings. And just as we’ve benefited from these plants, we have also done well by them. So who is really domesticating whom?


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Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea

by Alice Waters

About the book:  One of America's most influential chefs, Alice Waters created a revolution in 1971 when she introduced local, organic fare at her Berkeley, California, restaurant, Chez Panisse. Twenty-five years later, she and a small group of teachers and volunteers turned over long-abandoned soil at an urban middle school in Berkeley and planted the Edible Schoolyard. The schoolyard has since grown into a universal idea of Edible Education that integrates academics with growing, cooking, and sharing wholesome, delicious food. With inspiring images of the garden and kitchenand their young caretakersEdible Schoolyard is at once a visionary model for sustainable farming and childhood nutrition, and a call to action for schools across the country.


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Farmacology

by Daphne, M.D. Miller

About the book:  In Farmacology, practicing family physician and renowned nutrition explorer Daphne Miller brings us beyond the simple concept of "food as medicine" and introduces us to the critical idea that it's the farm where that food is grown that offers us the real medicine. By venturing out of her clinic and spending time on seven family farms, Miller uncovers all the aspects of farming—from seed choice to soil management—that have a direct and powerful impact on our health. Bridging the traditional divide between agriculture and medicine, Miller shares lessons learned from inspiring farmers and biomedical researchers and artfully weaves their insights and discoveries, along with stories from her patients, into the narrative. The result is a compelling new vision for sustainable healing and a treasure trove of farm-to-body lessons that have immense value in our daily lives.


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The World According to Monsanto

by Marie-Monique Robin

About the book:  Published to stellar praise worldwide, The World According to Monsanto charts award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin’s three-year journey across four continents to uncover the disturbing practices of multinational agribusiness corporation Monsanto.The book exposes the shocking story of how the new “green” face of the world’s leading producer of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) is no less malign than its PCB—and Agent Orange—soaked past. Monsanto currently controls the majority of the yield of the world’s genetically modified corn and soy—ingredients found in more than 95 percent of American households—and its alarming legal and political tactics to maintain this monopoly are the subject of worldwide concern, with baleful consequences for the world’s small-scale farmers.Selected as a finalist for the New York Public Library’s 2011 Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, The World According to Monsanto is positioned to increase awareness of a serious threat to our food supply.


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The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food

by Dan Barber

About the book:  “Not since Michael Pollan has such a powerful storyteller emerged to reform American food.” —The Washington PostToday’s optimistic farm-to-table food culture has a dark secret: the local food movement has failed to change how we eat. It has also offered a false promise for the future of food. In his visionary New York Times–bestselling book, chef Dan Barber offers a radical new way of thinking about food that will heal the land and taste good, too. Looking to the detrimental cooking of our past, and the misguided dining of our present, Barber points to a future “third plate”: a new form of American eating where good farming and good food intersect. Barber’s The Third Plate charts a bright path forward for eaters and chefs alike, daring everyone to imagine a future for our national cuisine that is as sustainable as it is delicious.


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Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

by Paul Stamets

About the book:  Mycelium Running is a manual for the mycological rescue of the planet. That’s right: growing more mushrooms may be the best thing we can do to save the environment, and in this groundbreaking text from mushroom expert Paul Stamets, you’ll find out how. The basic science goes like this: Microscopic cells called “mycelium”--the fruit of which are mushrooms--recycle carbon, nitrogen, and other essential elements as they break down plant and animal debris in the creation of rich new soil. What Stamets has discovered is that we can capitalize on mycelium’s digestive power and target it to decompose toxic wastes and pollutants (mycoremediation), catch and reduce silt from streambeds and pathogens from agricultural watersheds (mycofiltration), control insect populations (mycopesticides), and generally enhance the health of our forests and gardens (mycoforestry and myco-gardening).  In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find chapters detailing each of these four exciting branches of what Stamets has coined “mycorestoration,” as well as chapters on the medicinal and nutritional properties of mushrooms, inoculation methods, log and stump culture, and species selection for various environmental purposes. Heavily referenced and beautifully illustrated, this book is destined to be a classic reference for bemushroomed generations to come.


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Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World

by Joel Salatin

About the book:  From farmer Joel Salatin's point of view, life in the 21st century just ain't normal. In FOLKS, THIS AIN'T NORMAL, he discusses how far removed we are from the simple, sustainable joy that comes from living close to the land and the people we love. Salatin has many thoughts on what normal is and shares practical and philosophical ideas for changing our lives in small ways that have big impact.Salatin, hailed by the New York Times as "Virginia's most multifaceted agrarian since Thomas Jefferson [and] the high priest of the pasture" and profiled in the Academy Award nominated documentary Food, Inc. and the bestselling book The Omnivore's Dilemma, understands what food should be: Wholesome, seasonal, raised naturally, procured locally, prepared lovingly, and eaten with a profound reverence for the circle of life. And his message doesn't stop there. From child-rearing, to creating quality family time, to respecting the environment, Salatin writes with a wicked sense of humor and true storyteller's knack for the revealing anecdote. Salatin's crucial message and distinctive voice--practical, provocative, scientific, and down-home philosophical in equal measure--make FOLKS, THIS AIN'T NORMAL a must-read book.


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The Oyster War

by Summer Brennan

About the book:  It all began simply enough. In 1976 the Point Reyes Wilderness Act was passed with broad support, giving more than 33,000 acres of forest, grassland and shoreline the highest possible environmental protection in America. Those lands were to include a rare marine sanctuary, the Drakes Estuary, as “potential wilderness.” Located in that estuary was a small, struggling oyster farm. In existence for more than eighty years, it was accused of doing environmental harm. In 2005 the farm was given notice by the National Parks Service that its lease on the property, due to expire in 2012, would not be renewed. The intention was to allow this area to be restored and to be a viable part of the wilderness preserve. Kevin Lunny, a local rancher, bought the oyster farm in 2005 and renamed it The Drakes Bay Oyster Company. He refused to acknowledge the term of the lease, nor did he intend to abide by it, and thus began a protracted battle in the courts and in the court of public opinion over the future of the estuary.Environmentalists, local activists, national politicians, scientists, and the Department of the Interior all joined the battle, which began as a matter of local


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Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food

by Paul Greenberg

About the book:  "A necessary book for anyone truly interested in what we take from the sea to eat, and how, and why." -Sam Sifton, The New York Times Book Review. Writer and life-long fisherman Paul Greenberg takes us on a journey, examining the four fish that dominate our menus: salmon, sea bass, cod, and tuna. Investigating the forces that get fish to our dinner tables, Greenberg reveals our damaged relationship with the ocean and its inhabitants. Just three decades ago, nearly everything we ate from the sea was wild. Today, rampant overfishing and an unprecedented biotech revolution have brought us to a point where wild and farmed fish occupy equal parts of a complex marketplace. Four Fish offers a way for us to move toward a future in which healthy and sustainable seafood is the rule rather than the exception.


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The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies Are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet

by Kristin Ohlson

About the book:  Thousands of years of poor farming and ranching practices―and, especially, modern industrial agriculture―have led to the loss of up to 80 percent of carbon from the world's soils. That carbon is now floating in the atmosphere, and even if we stopped using fossil fuels today, it would continue warming the planet. In The Soil Will Save Us, journalist and bestselling author Kristin Ohlson makes an elegantly argued, passionate case for "our great green hope"―a way in which we can not only heal the land but also turn atmospheric carbon into beneficial soil carbon―and potentially reverse global warming.As the granddaughter of farmers and the daughter of avid gardeners, Ohlson has long had an appreciation for the soil. A chance conversation with a local chef led her to the crossroads of science, farming, food, and environmentalism and the discovery of the only significant way to remove carbon dioxide from the air―an ecological approach that tends not only to plants and animals but also to the vast population of underground microorganisms that fix carbon in the soil. Ohlson introduces the visionaries―scientists, farmers, ranchers, and landscapers―who are figuring out in the lab and on the ground how to build healthy soil, which solves myriad problems: drought, erosion, air and water pollution, and food quality, as well as climate change. Her discoveries and vivid storytelling will revolutionize the way we think about our food, our landscapes, our plants, and our relationship to Earth.


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