by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Books

Oct 27 2017

Weekend Reading: Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism

Eric Holt-Giménez.  A Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism: Understanding the Political Economy of What We Eat.  Monthly Review Press, 2017.

Image result for A Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism

I wrote the Foreword for this book, which Food First published online as a Backgrounder (see my post of September 26).

Here’s what the publisher says:

In his latest book, Eric Holt-Giménez takes on the social, environmental, and economic crises of the capitalist mode of food production. Drawing from classical and modern analyses, A Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism introduces the reader to the history of our food system and to the basics of capitalism. In straightforward prose, Holt-Giménez explains the political economics of why—even as local, organic, and gourmet food have spread around the world—billions go hungry in the midst of abundance; why obesity is a global epidemic; and why land-grabbing, global warming, and environmental pollution are increasing.

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Oct 23 2017

Book launch: Alice Waters’ Making of a Counterculture Cook

For those of you in New York, tonight at 7:30 Alice Waters will be at BAM talking with Hilton Als about her new book:

Alice Waters.  Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook.  Clarkson Potter, 2017.

It’s a memoir of her early years leading up to the launch of Chez Panisse, her now famous Berkeley restaurant, in 1971 at the age of 27.  The book recounts familiar stories of her discovery in France of the taste of fresh ingredients, and her attempts to recreate those tastes in America.

But it also draws on her experience with Berkeley politics in the 1960s as the inspiration for her life’s work.  Most touchingly, she dedicates the book to Mario Savio, the now-deceased leader of Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement, and talks about the importance of her work on Bob Scheer’s ultimately unsuccessful run for Congress in 1966.

The book is a lovely food memoir that answers lots of questions about what got Alice started on this path.

What it does not do is explain the enormous effectiveness of her moral force—the movement for fresh, local, seasonal, sustainable foods and ingredients; the White House garden; and the thousands of schools with gardens and food as part of the standard curriculum.

I hope she will do another memoir to explain how all that happened, as well.

Oct 20 2017

Weekend Reading: Seven Cheap Things

Raj Patel & Jason Moore.  A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Future of the Planet.  University of California Press, 2017.

I was pleased to do a blurb for this one:

This is a highly original, brilliantly conceptualized analysis of the effects of capitalism on seven key aspects of the modern world. Written with verve and drawing on a range of disciplines, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things is full of novel insights.

What are the seven things so cheap that they are not valued appropriately?

  • Nature
  • Money
  • Work
  • Care
  • Food
  • Energy
  • Lives

Read the book to connect the dots.  As Patel and Moore conclude, if what they say “sounds revolutionary, so much the better.”

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Oct 13 2017

Weekend reading: Politics of the Pantry

Emily E. LB. Twarog.  Politics of the Pantry: Housewives, Food, and Consumer Protest in Twentieth-Century America.  Oxford University Press, 2017.

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I did a blurb for this book:

Who knew that American housewives were up in arms throughout the last century about rising food prices and misleading package information.  Twarog traces the history of how these movements developed, their connections to unions and women’s auxiliaries, and how twentieth-century politics systematically destroyed them.  Her book has much to teach us about what’s needed to preserve—and strengthen–today’s food movements.

Sep 26 2017

Capitalism in our food?

I wrote the Foreword to Eric Holt Giménez’s Foodies Guide to Capitalism: Understanding the Political Economy of What We Eat.  

His book won’t be out for a few weeks, but Food First, the organization he heads, has published my Foreword as a Backgrounder, titled The Capitalism in Our Food.

Here’s how it begins:

When Eric Holt-Giménez asked me to introduce his Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism, I said yes right away. I love the title, I think the food movement needs this book, and I am tired of having to treat capitalism as the “C-word,”never to be mentioned in polite company. Those of us “foodies” who love to eat and want our food system to produce tastier, healthier, and more sustainable diets—and to provide a decent living to everyone involved in this work—need to bring capitalism out of the closet, understand the problems it causes, and deal with them front and
center. Eric (if I may) has done us an enormous favor by producing this book at this time.

And here’s the pull-quote:

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Sep 22 2017

Weekend reading: Carey Gilliam’s Whitewash

Carey Gilliam.  Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science.  Island Press, 2017.

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I did a blurb for this book (only the last sentence is on the back cover):

Whitewash, says Carey Gilliam, is what Monsanto, Monsanto-paid scientists, and the Monsanto-influenced EPA are trying to do for the herbicide glyphosate (“Roundup”)—make it  appear benign in the face of evidence that glyphosate may be carcinogenic,  strongly promotes weed resistance, and causes genetically modified crops to require even greater use of toxic chemicals.

Gilliam’s deep dive into this industry’s manipulation of science gives us even more reasons to advocate for organic and sustainable agricultural systems.

Sep 15 2017

Weekend reading: Big Chicken

Maryn McKenna.  Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats.  National Geographic, 2017.

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I did a blurb for this terrific book, out on September 12:

If you think raising farm animals on antibiotics is nothing to worry about, Big Chicken will change your mind in a hurry.  McKenna, a compelling writer, tells a gripping story: how antibiotics helped transform chicken-raising from backyard to industrial.  Her account of the profit-driven politics that allowed widespread antibiotic resistance should be required reading for anyone who cares about food and health, and especially for congressional representatives who have consistently failed to take action on this critical issue.

 

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Sep 8 2017

Weekend reading: Reinventing the (Cheese) Wheel

Bronwen and Frances Percival.  Reinventing the Wheel: Milk, Microbes, and the Fight for Real Cheese.  University of California Press, 2017.

 

 

In this book, the Percivals take a serious deep dive into the culinary history, sociology, politics, terroir, microbiology, and how-to of the making and eating of cheeses, raw and pasteurized.  Both kinds, when done right, can be delicious and safe.  This book should convince anyone that the making of wondrous cheeses is a science as well as an art.

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