Reading food and food politics
I’m also catching up on reading.
Wenonah Hauter. Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America. The New Press, 2012.
Hauter heads up Food and Water Watch, a tough-minded advocacy group in Washington DC working to preserve and ensure a safe, accessible, and sustainable food supply. Foodpoly is her manifesto. She has a lot to say about the problems with food policy, food chains, the organic-industrial complex, the food safety system, factory farms, and corporate control of the food supply. She urges: “eat and act your politics.” I’m using it as required reading in my food advocacy course this spring at NYU.
And here are a couple of others I’ve been saving up:
Bee Wilson, Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat, Basic Books, 2012.
Consider the Fork is a terrific delve into the history and modern use of kitchen tools so familiar that we take them for granted and never give them a thought. Bee Wilson places kitchen gadgets in their rich cultural context. I, for one, will never think about spoons, measuring cupts, eggbeaters, or chopsticks in the same way again.
W.A. Bogart, Permit But Discourage: Regulating Excessive Consumption, Oxford University Press, 2011.
Permit But Discourage is an engagingly written examination of a hugely important question: How can laws best be used to protect individuals and societies against out-of-control consumption of such things as alcohol, junk foods, sodas, and other unhealthy indulgences, without doing more harm than good? The book clearly and compellingly argues for a mix of laws that permit consumption but discourage excesses, and for finding that mix through trial and error. This fascinating book is as must read for anyone who cares about promoting health as well as human rights in a market-driven economy.