Tiny Reviews of 10 Notable New Food Books

I haven’t been reviewing books on my blog, mainly because so many of them flood into my office that I cannot keep up with them. But the public relations reps for a couple of recent books have been pushing hard for mentions. The books are good, important contributors to the food movement, and deserve readers.

I’m listing them in alphabetical order by title. Some of them I’ve blurbed, some not, but all have plenty of useful and interesting to say. Enjoy!

the butchers guide to well raised meat

Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat by Joshua and Jessica Applestone and Alexandra Zissu, Clarkson Potter, 2011 ($18.15 at amazon.com)
The owners of Fleisher’s butcher shop in Kingston, N.Y., tell the story of how a couple of vegetarians came to open butcher shops that specialize in grass-fed and organic meats, done right. I know lots of vegetarians who would eat meat from animals raised sustainably and humanely, and this book is a how-to guide to finding the right butcher or doing it yourself. (See TheDailyGreen’s review of Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat.)

Cultivating an Ecological Conscience by Fred Kirschenmann, Kentucky, 2010 ($33 at amazon.com)
Kirschenmann describes himself as a farmer-philosopher and so he is as he ruminates on his vision for sustainable agriculture as practiced on his own farm. My blurb points out that he’s “right up there with the other agronomic philosophers–Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson…It should inspire everyone to start planting and to think deeply about the food we eat.”

Fair Food by Oran Hesterman, Public Affairs, 2011 ($16.50 at amazon.com)

Hesterman is an agronomist who used to work with the Kellogg Foundation and now heads the Fair Food Network to work for sustainable food systems in Michigan. The book advocates for public policies that promote sustainability and food justice and explains how to work toward that goal. You want to change the system but don’t know how? Start here.

Farm Together Now by Amy Franceschini and Daniel Tucker, Chronicle Books, 2010 ($17.85 at amazon.com)
The authors interviewed and photographed 20 farmers throughout the country who are producing food in ways that advocate for food justice, sustainable agriculture, and local food movements. The book should inspire anyone to get out and farm.

Milk by Deborah Valenze, Yale, 2011 ($19.75 at amazon.com)
I blurbed this one: “Milk is the place to go to begin understanding how we got from dairy maids to industrial milk production and the current debates about the value of raw.” This is a serious work of history with great illustrations.

Poisoned by Jeff Benedict, Mariner 2011 ($15.40 at amazon.com)
I blurbed this one: “In telling the entwined stories of childhood victims of food poisoning and the lawyers [Bill Marler et al!] wrangling over just compensation, Poisoned is a fast-paced thriller, a riveting illustration of how the political—in this case, the inadequate food safety system—becomes personal.”

The Sorcerer’s Apprentices by Lisa Abend, Free Press, 2011. ($17.15 at amazon.com)
What is a book about the celebrated Spanish restaurant El Bulli doing on a food politics list? Abend is a terrific reporter who spent a year observing how the place runs: almost entirely on the labor of dozens of food professionals who gave up their real jobs to work for six months at a time as unpaid volunteers. The cooks are essentially piece workers. They never see or taste the final dishes served in the restaurant.

State of the World 2011 by Worldwatch Institute ($13.60 at amazon.com)
The 2011 annual report focuses on “Innovations that nourish the planet”—anti-hunger and farming projects throughout the world that are successfully improving the health of people and the planet. Read and be inspired!

Tomatoland by Barry Estabrook, Andrews McMeel, 2011 ($11.70 at amazon.com)
This book is a welcome expansion of Estabrook’s stunning, prize-winning article in Gourmet. Estabrook writes a compelling account of the injustices and social costs of industrial tomato farming to farm workers and to the environment. We could and should do better, and Estabrook explains how. Tomatoland scored a rave review in the New York Times, most deservedly.

… And for the under 2 set:

Rah, Rah, Radishes: A Vegetable Chant by April Pulley Sayre, Beach Lane, 2011 ($10.20 at amazon.com)
It comes with gorgeous photographs of vegetables and could be fun to read to little kids:

Oh boy,
Bok choy!
Brussels sprout.
Broccoli, cauliflower.
Shout it out!

Tiny Reviews of 10 Notable New Food Books
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