Sunday, August 24, 2008

More Food Books

Many thanks to BeverlyAnne for suggesting I read Ruth Ozeki's "My Year of Meats." It's one of the best fiction books I've read in a while. While the plot does deal to some extent with the horrors of meat processing, the book is actually about life, the world, and everything – cultural differences, mothers and daughters, men and women, ethics, desires, hope. It was great!

And while Sharon thought that I had probably read Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," in fact I hadn't. So I procured a copy from our wonderful library and devoured . . .um, I mean read . . . it immediately. Not only was the story of one family's efforts to eat locally ("locavores" is the hot new label for folks like these) from their own farm and other nearby farms fascinating, but Kingsolver's writing style was so enchanting that I requested one of her fiction books from the library -- "The Poisonwood Bible." I haven't read it yet, but everyone says it's excellent.

And what can I say about Laura Shapiro's "Perfection Salad"? The writing is somewhat academic and threfore a bit of a slog, but well worth the effort. The book covers the era from about 1880 to 1930, exactly the period during which "industrial food" began its ascendance. Ever heard of Fannie Farmer? The Chicago School of Cooking? Votes for Women? It's all here and it's all connected. Some of the menus of the time are hysterically funny too. White sauce on absolutely everything. Even bananas. And apparently Jello was considered a vegetable. Whew!


beverlyanne said...

Thanks for the shout out. Ozeki wrote a second food-themed novel called All Over Creation, also about life and everything else, but set on a potato farm in Idaho.

Kath said...

Jello isn't a vegetable??? Next you'll be telling me chocolate isn't a food group!

Sharon said...

Read Ozeki's next book - All Over Creation. She's such a good writer and the second one has less agenda, more open ended. It got great reviews.

Sheila said...

How did I miss Barbara Kingsolver's book? I love her fiction although I have to say Th Poisonwood Diary is not my favorite. I love "Animal Dreams". It was also the first book I read by Kingslover. And I see she has the full box set of her first books.