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Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen

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3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  397 ratings  ·  71 reviews
In the past few years, organic food has moved out of the patchouli-scented aisles of hippie food co-ops and into three-quarters of conventional grocery stores. Concurrent with this growth has been increased consumer awareness of the social and health-related issues around organic eating, independent farming, and food production.

Combining a straight-to-the-point exposé ab
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Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 6th 2006 by Tarcher
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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara KingsolverThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanIn Defense of Food by Michael PollanThe Dirty Life by Kristin KimballFarm City by Novella Carpenter
Locavore Reading List
33rd out of 55 books — 184 voters
The Mystic Princesses and the Whirlpool by P.J. LaRueThe Urban Homestead (Expanded & Revised Edition) by Kelly CoyneCradle to Cradle by William McDonoughThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanSilent Spring by Rachel Carson
Being "Green"
198th out of 244 books — 155 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,152)
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Jill
Oct 03, 2007 Jill rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Food Lovers/ Food Activists
I liked this book well enough. It was a bit of an overview of what's wrong with our food production methods, and how local food and organic are good. I found it all agreeable, but I was less excited about the recipes which were half the book. They sounded good, but not anything I was dying to run out and try. Also, I was expecting more emphasis on urban living, since I do live in a city and the title suggests it, but didn't find anything particularly related to what we can do in a city that woul ...more
Jen
Didn't have a chance to dig into the articles on food/sustainability. Aimed at a young trendy audience (what they mean by "urban"?) with a suggested soundtrack to each menu. Tried out a few recipes, because they seemed unusual...but they mostly were in that interesting but wouldn't try it again way. Perhaps just my own failure to learn to love quinoa. Uses ingredients (like seitan and the aforementioned quinoa) that are harder to find recipes for - but on the other hand, that could reinforce the ...more
Phaedra
Oct 23, 2007 Phaedra rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: foodies
Since I can't eat all the time, I spend a lot of my free time reading about food. Blogs, cookbooks, Vegetarian Times, Gourmet.... Almost as satisfying is reading about mindful eating, and the politics of food. The danger with these sorts of books is that you are often the choir getting preached to, but sometimes that justification is all you need to keep you striving for right living. :)

I think Grub might be a book that will turn off those who are not already interested in food and social justic
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Micah
I think this book was mistitled. There is a lot of great information in here but it's more about how poorly our food industry works than "ideas for an uban organic kitchen." The authors give you good advice on how to gear your choices as a consumer toward a more sustainable way of eating, but don't offer enough advice on how to help change the industry. The food economy is not going to change until we can get Washington to stop subsidizing big business and start supporting small farms. It makes ...more
Erica
Interesting concept, but after reading so much on the subject, its starting to feel like a broken record. Same statistics, case studies, examples...I think its time to become OC over something else.

This book tried REALLY hard to be cool. Playlists, poems and slang accompanied each set of recipes.

Then, in a final stab through the heart, the spine decided to crease on me even though I am very easy on my books and take good care of them. :sigh: looks like I wont be able to return it anymore.
AJ
This is a pretty good intro book about food - the issues with current industrial farming such as toxins in pesticides, inefficient use of resources (water, fossil fuels, etc), ingredients in food products not resembling actual food, and other related things. Then it covers the concept of Grub - organic, whole foods that are grown locally. The book covers the very basics of what other books cover in detail - In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, Organic Inc.: Natural Foods and How They Grew a ...more
Sara Jaye
This book is a great intro for any city-dweller looking to make their eating habits more sustainable. It's definitely written with an eye towards folks in their twenties and thirties - the "young" and "hip" as the back cover describes, but it's definitely not overwhelmingly scene-y like some alternative cookbooks can be. The explanations of what's wrong with industrial agriculture are reader-friendly: brief but well-illustrated. However, if you want any kind of depth of understanding on these ve ...more
Amanda
This book scares the crap out of me and almost every page has some sort of horrifying fact about the food that I eat -- and that I feed to my baby(!!!)-- that makes me a bit ill. But it's such a giant, all-encompassing issue that it is almost easier not to see it and to just carry on as normal because it is exhausting to focus on the possibly very real fact that every bite I take has been marketed to me as innocuous and safe by agro-business corporate evil-doers who conceal the dangers of their ...more
Ed
At the very start of the book the authors give their definition of “Grub”:
Grub is organic and sustainably raised whole and locally grown foods;
Grub is produced with fairness from seed to table;
Grub is good for our bodies, our communities, and our environment.
*Grub should be universal…and it’s delicious.

The book is divided into five parts. The first part focuses on the illusions of our currently upheld agribusiness system, which is leading us down a dead end: the illusion of safe and clean, the
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Mo Tipton
After reading The Revolution Will Not be Microwaved and Food Not Lawns, I found most of the information presented in this book to be a recap, but if you're looking for an overview of the issues surrounding agricultural uses of pesticides/herbicides, the murky regulations surrounding such use, and ways in which to step outside of the toxic circle of industrialized agriculture, this is a great place to start.

I didn't get a chance to try any of the recipes, such as Spicy Tempeh Sausage Patties wit
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Robin
Lent by a friend . . . Looking forward to reading it!

Some interesting tidbits:
You can lower your risk of pesticide exposure by as much as 90% just by choosing organic varieties of the 12 most contaminated fruits & vegetables, which are
apples
cherries
nectarines
grapes
bell peppers
spinach
peaches
pears
red raspberries
strawberries
celery
potatoes

Food and beverage marketing to kids in the USA eats up 10 - 12 billion dollars a year -- Enough to provide health insurance for every uninsured child in the co
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Mimi
Dec 07, 2007 Mimi rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: veggie lovers
by anna lappe, daugther to frances lappe (author of the revolutionary DIET FOR A SMALL PLANET ....annie)

it's alright. some good recipies. actually has some relevant information about food politics, provides interesting fodder for the slow food movement.
but it doesn't really excite me, a little pretentious. i don't know what it is. but i learned some wild stuff about organic food like.... nestle food corp makes more money than the GDP of nigeria and vietnam. yikes.
and in non-organic beef, lamb,
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Elizabeth
This book is more useful as reading material than a cookbook - a great place to start if you want a (biased) view of how the food industry works and what we're actually putting in our bodies.

From my blog:
...full of information about the food industry, as well as recommendations (and meals) for things you can do to make your own habits more sustainable. This week we made mofongo with wild mushroom sauce, along with rosemary-chile mashed potatoes, using as many organic products as possible. It was
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carrietracy
I found the first half of this book very interesting. It manages to convey information about the health and safety of food production without seeming like crazy alarmist fearmongers. I wasn't particularly interested in the recipes, and had one major problem, which was that the authors frequently repeat that the soy producers function in a monopoly (which is BAD) and then go on use tofu and other soy products frequently in their recipes. If you want me to buy something you've just spent time tell ...more
Reyna Bishop
I started reading this one b/c one of the coauthors, Anne Lappe is coming to speak at an event here in Austin next week. I have read several books touting the benefits of organic and sustainable eating/food practices and was ready for more of the same so to speak. The book has been a pleasant surprise. Anne digs into the dirty trail of lobbying and tax dollars that have resulted in governmental promotion and subsidizing genetic engineering and over the top pesticide use without due consideration ...more
Christina
I bought Grub a couple of years ago after reading a Bryant Terry interview in the Oprah magazine.

He is a chef and food activist in Oakland, California.

So far:

I've used the spring salad with herbs recipe and the white wine and thyme brussels sprouts recipe.

I also bought the Bryant Terry book Inspired Vegan and I recommend it as well.

I cook mostly seafood and vegetables and whole wheat pasta and occasionally chicken and whole grains.

Thus:
I recommend Grub and Inspired Vegan.

Tasty and delicious food
...more
cat
umm, i am a little underwhelmed...i heard about this book so long ago, before i really got into food politics, and i thought the concept of grub parties was so interesting, that i think, by buying this book so much later, i set it up for failure.

you can't fault the facts, but they aren't really knew or interesting to anyone who knows about food politics, and anne lappe's writing isn't great.

however, the recipes, soundtracks and poetry are pretty darn good...i never thought i would ever make vega
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Breeann Kirby
May 31, 2008 Breeann Kirby rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: foodies
The people who read this book will probably be the choir to the authors' preacher, but it is still very interesting.
The first half of the book (the part by Anna Lappe) is a manifesto of sorts for our need as city dwellers to make a point to eat local and organic. The second half by Bryant Terry is a slightly pretentious collection of menus according to season.
However, the things I've cooked out of here have been amazing. And I do like the quirky organization of the menus (e.g. Afrodiaspora).
Charlene
Good look at what is wrong with the food in America and some fairly simple ways to help change it in our own spheres. Helpful tools and resources throughout and a list of menus, recipes, and even food-related poetry in the back for what the authors call "grub parties." An intimate food gathering with friends linking food with community and good relationships, with people, the earth, and the better appreciated middle men in sustainable and well-intentioned agriculture practices.
Jenni
nothing novel or terribly exciting if you've read Fast Food Nation, Omnivore's Dilemma, or Animal Vegetable Miracle (or anything along those lines).

some of the recipes look interesting, but you gotta have coconut oil and/or rice milk on hand. the poems and music suggestions felt a little forced. and the romantic Valentine's Day dinner was ... well it was so awful that I can't think of an awful enough description at the moment.

Eric Schlosser's intro was my favorite bit.
Trish
This book is a good balance between food politics and amazing recipes. The first half of the book outlines the organic food movement from about the 60s. The second half has menus according to season with an accompanying soundtrack for the meal. i.e. the summer menu has a soul food selection with songs from various afro-punk/soul artists. It's a refreshing change from the usual food network set, offering some diverse options and unexpected tastes. Check it out!
Cherie
Finally! A book geared towards the organic urbanite! I'm sick of reading so many great books that encourage you to plant a massive garden in your backyard, compost, etc. I don't have that space. There's a lot of good info in the first part (much of which I already knew) and you can tell the authors are QUITE passionate abt their issues. The second major section are the recipes; to be honest, there were none I was DYING to try, but looked interesting.
Jamie
I'm not quite cool enough for this book, but still enjoyed reading it and got pretty excited to cook out of it. My sister still talks about the seitan stew we made out of it one day, and I'll never be able to eat quinoa again without adding coconut milk. I think some of my friends might be cool enough for this book, so hopefully they'll come over and we can cook food and talk about, er, traveling to developing countries and regatón, man.
Jessi
i've read these arguments before, but the writing was persuasive enough to make me feel inspired to step up my efforts to eat local and sustainable foods. the recipes gave me a few new things to try. i especially liked the inclusion of diaspora cuisines of the americas, which are often over-looked despite the fact that, being regional north and south) american food, their ingredients are often perfectly suited to a locavore diet.
Noël
This book was extremely informative on just what it is that we are putting into our bodies. At times I definitely wanted to skip chapters and read about something other than what the "man" was doing to keep us down, haha, but I think this book is good for anyone who wants to gain knowledge on choosing healthier foods. Armed with lots of websites and reference books, I feel more comfortable making my shopping and eating decisions.
Alex
Oct 18, 2007 Alex rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: CJ
This book is a little scattered but I liked a lot that Anna is from NYC and, thus, 'urban organic' not only can be done but done HERE where I live. I thought her ideas on how to shop local (and why to shop local) were thought-provoking and convincing. I wasn't crazy about the recipes, etc. (I'm a meat eater and they're all veg.) but only the whole it was a fun, informative, okay book that was a fast read. Perfect for me.
Denise
Skimmed this book as preparation for the 2011 Cuesta Book of the Year program. The authors are not at all neutral in their point of view in promoting local/organic food over anything else. Section 2 was the most interesting for me with charts on who owns what organic product/line and definitions of organic labeling.

Provides menus and recipes which were interesting but seemed like a lot of work.

A good sourcebook.
Danie
May 16, 2008 Danie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People into food, liberal politics
Recommended to Danie by: Idealist
The beginning of this book is well laid out and has a lot of important information. She is very much trying to get us to be mindful about eating real food as opposed to the food products that agribusiness presents to us in pretty packaging.

However, the recipes fell very short. (Most recipes included ingredients that are difficult to source locally or fair trade, so you'd end up having to buy from agribusiness.)
Jennifer
A mixed bag: I liked all the information at the beginning of the book (which really helped tip me more toward local foods), and I loved the idea of Grub feasts. The recipes, though, left me mostly lukewarm, maybe because there were so many non-local ingredients used so regularly. Definitely a hip take on eating well and eating consciously, but not, perhaps, the best book around.
Monique
Wonderful ideas for changing to an organic kitchen. The suggestions, resources, and ideas for fresh food is amazing. Now I have a clear plan on making changes to my family meals. Like two books in one...uncovering the food conspiracy and seasonal recipes. There are a few things that are far out for this meat and pototoes girl but I totally understand the concepts.
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Anna Lappé is a widely respected author and educator, known for her work as an expert on food systems and as a sustainable food advocate. The co-author or author of three books and the contributing author to ten others, Anna’s work has been widely translated internationally and featured in The New York Times,Gourmet,Oprah Magazine, among many other outlets. Named one of Time magazine’s “eco” Who’s ...more
More about Anna Lappé...
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