Thursday, August 28, 2014

Library Showcase: All About Food

vegetables of the rainbow
Source: Pixabay

In his 2009 book, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, Michael Pollan answers the question ‘What should we be eating?’ in seven simple words: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Food shouldn’t be complicated, but the mountain of books on nutrition, dieting, food industry scandals, organic farming, and food culture shows us that eating is anything but straightforward. Everyone can take an interest in some aspect of food, whether it’s learning what’s in your breakfast cereal, where your chicken sandwich comes from, or why we eat the things we eat. Right now the library is featuring books related to the complex topic of food, so come by and check out one today!

Below is a small sampling of food-related books at the Jessup library. A word of caution: reading this list may make you extremely hungry!

For thoughtful discussions of how choosing simpler, more sustainable food can improve the health of our bodies, minds, and the world around us, try Farmacology: What Innovative Family Farming Can Teach Us About Health and Healing by Daphne Miller, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan, or The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter by Peter Singer and Jim Mason.

It seems like every month there is a new diet craze in the news, but despite America’s obsession with dieting, we live in a country that is increasingly overweight. If you’re interested in dieting and nutrition, you might enjoy one of these books: A Big Fat Crisis by Deborah A. Cohen, The Hundred Year Diet: America’s Voracious Appetite for Losing Weight by Susan Yager, The Low-Carb Fraud by T. Colin Campbell, Real Food Has Curves: How to Get Off Processed Food, Lose Weight, and Love What You Eat by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, and Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by T. Colin Campbell.

Today most of our food is produced, packaged, and sold by large corporations instead of the family farms that once covered most of America. The journalists and writers who take a closer look at these giants of the food business have made some surprising, and sometimes quite alarming, discoveries. These books take a critical look at the modern food industry: Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being Food by Frederick Kaufman, The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business by Christopher Leonard, and Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss. For a contrasting viewpoint on the food industry, see The Food Police: A Well-Fed Manifesto About the Politics of Your Plate by Jayson Lusk; and The Secret Financial Life of Food: From Commodities Markets to Supermarkets by Kara Newman provides a financial perspective on the food industry.

The history of food is as old as the history of humanity itself; for a closer look at the way food drives civilization and culture, try An Edible History of Humanity by Tom Standage, Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine One Plate at a Time by Adrian Miller, and Tea: Addiction, Exploitation, and Empire by Roy Moxham.

Finally, when it comes to food, we all have our “guilty pleasures,” the foods we just can’t resist. If you can’t get through the day without a little caffeine or you have an undeniable sweet tooth, these next books are for you: Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us All by Murray Carpenter, Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure by Samira Kawash, and The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars by Joël Glenn Brenner.