I'm about to surprise no one with this confession: I love food. Cooking it, eating it, talking about it (sometimes preaching about it), and reading about it. Well, I've been reading food books for a long time. But after a short hiatus during which I read books about Chicago and introverted philosophies, I'm on a nonfiction/food kick again. Unless the novel about a piano tuner in Burma written by a medical doctor (the other book I recently began reading) sucks me in.
Following is a short list of my favorite foodie-type books. They are all fairly similar and have been integral in my quest to eat food. As a result of reading several of these books, I am mostly vegetarian. (I know, you either are or aren't. I'm not, but it's easier to tell people I am than to explain flexitarianism/being an ethical omnivore. Although I guess that undermines the reasons for differentiating in the first place.)
When I used to have food discussions with the youth I worked with they thought it was hilarious that I wouldn't eat the cafeteria meat just because I didn't know where it came from, or whether it was treated humanely: "So you mean, if you saw a cow die, and you knew where it was from and that it was killed quickly, then you'd eat it?" they'd ask. I'd nod. "EW. I could never eat something that I just saw killed," as they scarfed down hot dogs or hamburgers or chicken of questionable origin. This discussion grew into a running joke: "Rachel, do you want a hamburger? I think it was laughing when it died." "Rachel only eats meat from happy animals, like if the chicken gets to dance around and play before someone kills it."
So, if you are looking for something to read, or if you never want to look at ground beef the same, here's a few informative, but also entertaining, reads:
In Defense of Food - Michael Pollan
I've discussed this book before...it's still awesome. Check out his other ones as well, or read the many articles he's written, or watch videos of him on various news/talk shows. Basically, become of fan of this guy.
Eating Animals - Jonathan Safran Foer
Again, the man, his books, etc...all pretty great. Don't let the movie version of Everything is Illuminated ruin J.S. Foer for you.
Fast Food Nation - Eric Schlosser
Now a major motion picture, starring Wilmer Valderrama, Greg Kinnear, and...Avril Lavigne? Whatever, still an informative and frightening read. Not that I ever eat fast food anyway.
Okay, so...it's not an exhaustive list. These are just the three that come to mind. I finished FFN just yesterday, and the other two have always stuck with me. I figured they were worth revisiting. Now go eat some real food!