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A “reading” list

Off the top of my head, and in the order i “read” them:

Fast Food Nation – Eric Schlosser – I read this sometime in the middle of college, probably 2003. My bro’s girlfriend had read it for class and lent it to me. So, what i remember: It’s sensational, but it is also very informative. And sensational makes it interesting. Highly recommended as a starting point because it is more fun and simple than most of the other good books on the subject, but still important and educational (and creepy and depressing in parts).

Eating in the Dark: America’s Experiment with Genetically Engineered Food – Kathleen Hart – Summer/fall of 2005. The first i had read about GE/GM foods. It’s not terribly well written, and she comes of a bit shrill (not to imply that Monsanto isn’t evil), but it was all new to me, so i really dug it. Marion Nestle has a book that goes into GE stuff that i haven’t read, but would guess is a better place to start, honestly.

Food Politics – Marion Nestle – Soon thereafter. This book has a lot less about food production and a lot more about the governing, lobbying, marketing, funding, regulation and running of the food industry. Fascinating. From the evolution of the food pyramid to scholarly nutrition conferences funded by General Mills to the change from malnutrition to ‘over-nutrition’ in the past century. Nestle is a nutritionist, and, i gather from other sources, a pretty major player in all this stuff – and a pretty good author.

Super Size Me (movie) – Morgan Spurlock – Sometime while i worked at the video store. This is one of those documentaries that you can get away with watching purely for entertainment. It is funny and well-done and kind of gross. Oh, and it’s interesting and informational, too. But it’s not really anything you didn’t know – fast food is bad for you. I’ll throw in this teaser, though: Morgan, who goes on the all-fast-food diet, is dating a vegan.

The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choises Matter – Peter Singer and Jim Mason – Fall/Winter 06. The authors attemp to trace three families’ foods back to thier roots: the all-american eaters, the ‘conciencious omnivores’ and the vegans. The go into a lot of detail, and there are some surprises in the end (such as the Wal-Mart fish sticks being, probably, more sustainable than the Horizon Organic fish). A fascinating trek through the (very complicated) world of food production, with a bit of philosophy thrown in – this is the Peter Singer of Animal Liberation after all.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: a Natural History of Four Meals – Michael Pollan – May 07. Much as the subtitle suggests. The four meals are industrial, industrial organic, organic, and hunter/gatherer. And by a natural history he goes into the history (especially in the industrial section, on the history of the corn plant), production process, and philosophy (particularly in the hunter/gatherer where he is reconciling hunting). Well written and packed with more information than an entertaining book ought to be able to get away with – and sneakily scholarly. It’s not as long as it looks.

The Primal Feast: Food, Sex, Foraging, and Love – Susan Allport – June 07. The writing is an interesting (and engaging) combination of memoir and science. She looks at food from a sort of evolutionary view; how everyting about us can be related to the way we eat (and, of course, vice versa, but that is not the focus of this book). It is a fascinating look at a very wide array of topics through one lens. Not my normal food-study fare of process-nutrition-politics, but worth stepping out for.

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