Required Reading

School is back in session - and it's time to get the books on the reading list going. Our two picks today focus is on food, and more specifically the state of food today - the growing, sustainability, sometimes frightening cycle and even pure pleasure of food.

The first of the two is not optional - if you haven't already; run, don't walk to pick this one up. If you are reading this blog, chances are Michael Pollan's, The Omnivore's Dilemma will flat out change the way you eat, shop, and maybe even grow your food. Literally an eye opener.

Pollan has divided The Omnivore's Dilemma into three parts, one for each of the food chains that sustain us: industrialized food, alternative or "organic" food, and food people obtain by dint of their own hunting, gathering, or gardening. Pollan follows each food chain literally from the ground up to the table, emphasizing our dynamic coevolutionary relationship with the species we depend on. he concludes each section by sitting down to a meal—at McDonald's, at home with his family sharing a dinner from Whole Foods, and in a revolutionary "beyond organic" farm in Virginia. For each meal he traces the provenance of everything consumed, revealing the hidden components we unwittingly ingest and explaining how our taste for particular foods reflects our environmental and biological inheritance.

In contrast, Barbara Kingsolver's lovely Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life is part memoir, part journalistic investigation - and could be considered a little more 'poolside' friendly. The book, explained by Kingsolver; "tells the story of how our family was changed by one year of deliberately eating food produced in the place where we live." Barbara wrote the central narrative; husband Steven digs deeper into various aspects of food-production science and industry; and daughter Camille's brief essays offer a nineteen-year-old's perspective on the local-food project, plus nutritional information, meal plans and recipes.

To purchase either, (or both!) of these reads - visit our favorite online (and brick & mortar, now with six locations!) independent bookshop, Powell's Books. Based in Portland, Oregon and started in 1971 Powell's is a family owned operation with green roots.

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