If you are just beginning to learn about food politics and need a little guidance along the way, here are some of the best books for cultivating a sense of responsibility and wonder about our relationship with food.
“Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer. Foer has written a clever and personal story about the path towards vegetarianism for himself and his family. Foer is not motivated by squishy-hippie ideas of animals as friends, but looks at meat eating through a cultural lens to try and understand why we eat animals (but only some of them) in the first place.
“Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan. Sure, it’s popular, but it also covers a lot of ground that has become mainstream news in the years following publication: corn subsidies, industrial animal agriculture, organic labeling and the importance of learning how to gather, grow and hunt your own food. Pollan has written a delicious book, witty and fun, if slightly elitist.
“Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver. This is truly my favorite book about food. Giving up the desert of Arizona for the lush gardens of Virginia, Kingsolver endeavors to eat for one whole year with food they produce. This mega-charming family learns over the year about the rules about local, sustainable and seasonal—and the importance of turkey procreation. Trust me, it’s funnier than you think.
“The Kind Diet” by Alicia Silverstone. Don’t hate this book before you give it a read. I’m totally guilty of this, and feel stupid that I missed out on this seriously good vegan primer. Silverstone breaks it down simply for readers: we should decrease and eventually eliminate processed foods, sugar, meat and dairy from our diets, and start eating fabulous green things. Her food rules are grounded in Macrobiotic principles, but the book has recipes with chocolate and other sweet things. This is a great first book for newbie vegetarians/vegans or just for those looking to “clean up” their diet. You can also find “The Kind Life” community online for moral and recipe support.
Andrea Devon Bertoli is a vegetarian chef and cooking instructor based on the gathering isle of Oahu. She runs Manis Kitchenworks, offering nutritional consultation and cooking lessons, and works as a cooking instructor for a vegetarian health food store. She is a dedicated kale lover, surfer, yogi, reader and writer of veggie-friendly news. Follow her daily growing, baking and eating adventures on BakeryManis, on Twitter and find more of her writing at Healthy Bitch Daily, Green Business Owner, Bliss.com and Hawaii Women’s Journal.
Editor: Anne Clendening
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