Kimberly's Reviews > The Mindful Carnivore: A Vegetarian's Hunt for Sustenance

The Mindful Carnivore by Tovar Cerulli
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May 20, 2012

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bookshelves: foodstuffs, nonfiction

Food books are tough . . . you've either got purely unbiased and factual (which is hard enough, and often reads drier than an Arab sandal) or heavily skewed to one perspective or the other (I'm looking at you, Jonathan Foer). The truth is, no one likes being beat over their head with a message, except maybe those who agree with that message wholeheartedly, and in that case, it's like preaching to the choir. (Again, looking at you, Jonathan Foer.) And what good is that?

This long-winded preamble is just to say that Cerulli does a great job of abstaining from doing that. Yes, his journey is a personal one, but it's mindful and meditative. He doesn't say that he came to find out that consuming animals is right in this way and wrong in that way, but takes us along with him as he tries to find his own way to come to terms with his consumption. Full disclosure here: I also struggle in this way and, having changed my eating habits more than once (or twice) over the past decade or so, I empathize with his plight.

It brought to mind Michael Pollan's 'The Omnivore's Dilemma' when Cerulli sets out to kill what he wants to eat. In fact, the majority of this book is geared toward hunting and fishing, which I was definitely not expecting when I decided to read this book. It's not cruel, so don't let that put you off, just a heads-up. It's also not about hunting and fishing, if that makes sense. It's about the intent of consuming animals and all that goes into it. Pardon the cheesy line, but it's about the circle of life, and how we humans, in spite of thinking we're the top of and best at everything, are still a part of that circle.

The Mindful Carnivore is a somewhat quiet telling of just that; a man who has gone the gamut from omnivore to vegan to vegetarian and back again, and his mindful meditation on those stages.
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