I can honestly say that this book changed my life, even though I didn't finish it.
Flash back to late April 2008. Shane and I are in the car en route h...moreI can honestly say that this book changed my life, even though I didn't finish it.
Flash back to late April 2008. Shane and I are in the car en route home from Harrisonburg, where we've been visiting friends. It's a gorgeous spring day in Virginia, and I decide to pass the time driving home reading about the food industry. I make it about five pages in, then slam the book shut and tell Shane that the food industry pisses me off.
Those five pages were the first significant step in the direction of making much more conscious decisions about what and how we eat (though you'd hardly be able to tell if you'd been following us around on vacation this last week). As a result of those five pages, we signed up for One Local Summer, we made a more concentrated gardening effort, and we developed a weekend routine that revolves around the farmers' market. We've eaten somewhat less chicken, and somewhat more awesome meat from sustainable vendors. We've learned to love new vegetables, and to consider the pre-packaged meals a treat rather than a given. We (well, I) filled our freezer and myriad canning jars with the summer's plenty, and will supplement our sparse market purchases with those items over the winter.
If it was that life-changing, then, why didn't I finish it? Well, to be honest, it's pretty dense material (which is also a good part of why I didn't finish the other book about food by Nestle that I tried to read in '07). There's a LOT of information on a lot of different but exceptionally interrelated topics. I feel that after reading what I did, I have a deeper understanding of the relationships between the government and the food industry - relationships that, like many other lobbies, should be more closely scrutinized. She talks about the Food Pyramid, the cattle industry, supplements, and many other topics that relate to the (should be really simple) question of what you put into your body on a daily basis. I highly recommend it, but don't feel bad if you can't make it all the way through. You know how rabid I am about these things, and I didn't.(less)
Me reading this book was a good example of preaching to the choir. That said, it was well-written and engaging - much moreso than several of the food...moreMe reading this book was a good example of preaching to the choir. That said, it was well-written and engaging - much moreso than several of the food books I've read recently. While the others have skewed heavily towards the scientific/political aspects of food - this one balances science and pleasure, history and the unique opportunities and challenges of modernity. A bit light on the evidence - other reviewers have criticized her presentation of science and anecdotes on equal footing - but still quite persuasive: "real" foods, the ones we've eaten for centuries if not millenia, are better for us than the things we've cooked up in the last century, including the bizarre nutraceuticals and other designer foods that seem to pop up at the grocery store every week.
Now, if only I didn't like refined sugars so much...(less)
This book is really sweet, and I'm going to need to buy a copy soon if my friends keep getting knocked up and/or if I have any hope of making cute clo...moreThis book is really sweet, and I'm going to need to buy a copy soon if my friends keep getting knocked up and/or if I have any hope of making cute clothes when we have kids.(less)
This was actually my second time through Monster of God, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first. Quammen interweaves the stories of four large pre...moreThis was actually my second time through Monster of God, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first. Quammen interweaves the stories of four large predators with the stories of the people around them - and speculations as to why we're so afraid of man-eating beasts. While there are parts that lean towards the lurid - for the most part this is a serious treatment of a really interesting topic. The book is long, but well worth it.(less)
I really, thoroughly enjoyed this book, but I think it's the sort of thing that I need to be on vacation to really bang out. I have it checked out fro...moreI really, thoroughly enjoyed this book, but I think it's the sort of thing that I need to be on vacation to really bang out. I have it checked out from the library through a bizarre loophole in which my request was canceled (due to a fine resulting from another weird mix-up - two books on the same topic from the same publisher with titles in the same format but obviously different books getting barcodes switched) but the book was still sent to my library.
I'm taking it back because I feel bad hanging on to it and reading 1-3 small sections every week or so, but I really look forward to picking it up again soon. Maybe it can be my honeymoon reading, and then I can regale Shane will all kinds of interesting theories about biogeography. Can't wait.(less)