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Michael Pollan on the rise of the food movement(s)

Pollan nation: In what is ostensibly a five-book review for the June 10 New York Review of Books, journalist Michael Pollan has an epic essay charting the emergence and character of the food movement. Or, as he puts it, "'movements,' since it is unified as yet by little more than the recognition that...

Food & Wine magazine sins against the monkfish

In the January 2010 issue of Food & Wine magazine, former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni visits top-rated Le Bernardin (3 stars from Michelin, 4 stars from the New York Times) and acts like an ass to the sommelier as he eats his multicourse meal*. If you're into restaurant drama, or food...

Chilling out: A review of “Fresh: A Perishable History”

Locavores like me live for the local farmers market, not just for the conversations with the farmers, but also for the wide variety of fresh, colorful foods. We know that a farmer's produce was nestled in the soil only a few hours before, and we know that the food we purchase is still full of nutrients and...

Outta space?: R. J. Ruppenthal’s “Fresh Food From Small Spaces”

Though I've been lucky to "borrow" my friends' back yard for a garden this year, during the winter I still crave growing something green and edible. But in an apartment with insufficient amounts of direct sunlight, I sometimes find it difficult to grow much of anything. I know I'm not alone in having that...

Grass act: Gene Logsdon’s “All Flesh Is Grass”

As the problems of industrial meat production — CAFOs, excessive waste and pollution, worker safety, and the overuse of antibiotics, among many others — become more evident and more dangerous to public health, consumers are turning in greater numbers to local and/or organic meats and poultry, especially...

I can read you like a cook: A review of “Kitchen Literacy”

As the local-food movement broadens and more people find pleasure in shopping at the local farmers markets and/or in growing their own produce, we find more folks 'fessing up to their lack of expertise. How do you know when a fruit or vegetable is ripe? What's the difference between various cuts of meat?...

An “Unsettling” look at industrial agriculture

The flaws of industrial agriculture and the current backlash against it came into sharp focus a couple of weeks ago, following the death of former Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz, well-known for his exhortations to farmers to "Get big or get out" and to plant from "fence row to fence row." Between the...

The joy of cookbooks: Judith Jones’s “The Tenth Muse”

When I read "My Life in France" by Julia Child a couple of years ago, I was struck by the vast effort it took to edit and publish her first book in the United States, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." Written with her French co-authors, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, this...