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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Food in the News and in Books

The Center for Disease Control reports that since April, over 1000 people have become ill from food contaminated by salmonella. It's disheartening that in the United States something so fundamental - getting good, safe food to eat - can be so treacherous.

The good and bad of the food chain in the United States has been the topic of many relatively recent books, such as those by Michael Pollen. I've browsed through these books and found that, for me, this is not the best format to learn about this interesting topic. I'm much more likely to read and absorb this type of information when its published in a newspaper or The New Yorker, or discussed on a public radio program.

Reading about good food, however, can be good entertainment. I vividly recall reading Peter Mayle's excellent and entertaining A Year in Provence. Mid-way through the book, I rushed out to buy brie, crusty bread, and a cold bottle of good white wine to enjoy while I resumed the story of Mayle's efforts to cope in the wilds of the south of France.

Two memoirs by culinary super-stars also provide great reading. The first is My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud'Homme, and the second is The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen by Jacque Pepin. The stories of how these chefs rose to success are fun to follow.

Finally, the issue of what to eat, but from the perspective of diet and nutrition, is also addressed in Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. Taubes' book, in tremendous detail, essentially argues that there is very little scientific support for many conventional dietary recommendations. The mass of information presented in this book is very persuasive and, while I can't agree with everything the author ultimately concludes and recommends, I have put bacon back on the breakfast table.

1 comment:

  1. Amy,

    Thought you might get a kick out of this quote from a July 3 article published in our local paper. The headline read "At age 106, Bigfork angler enjoys day of lake fishing." The quote:
    As she fished from the dock, slowly retrieving a lure and hoping for a strike, she passed along her secret for a long life.
    "I eat bacon every morning," she said. "Crisp bacon."