Monday, June 28, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Food Rules by Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan has been ubiquitous as of late. With films like Food Inc, his latest article in the New York Times Review of Books in which he reviews other books about food justice, and even a PBS documentary based on his earlier book The Botany of Desire, it seems that everywhere one turns, there Pollan is with his measured tone of voice and his matter-of-fact insights on the food industry, especially if one is involved in some sort of food justice work.

It seems a little too soon, however, for a greatest-hits compilation. Unfortunately, it soon becomes evident that that is what Food Rules is. To be fair, I don’t think Pollan argues that it is anything but a “pocket guide” to eating right, a place to put his chestnuts of food wisdom together in a book that can easily slide into a purse for easy access. However, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed.

I approached the book with the knowledge that it was a “pocket guide”, but I did not expect the book to be a mere condensation of In Defense of Food. In fact, I would suggest that if you have read the latter book already, you have pretty much read the “extended version” of Food Rules and you probably do not have to purchase this newer book at all. However, if you have found In Defense of Food to be daunting, or perhaps wants a simple, list-style guide to eating right to give as a gift to friends or family members who you would like to introduce to the notion of food justice and the inequities of the food industry, I would highly recommend this book.

The format of the book is very user-friendly: a series of numbered “rules”, some presented without explanation, others with a paragraph or two explaining the rationale behind them. Indeed, for anyone starting to question the food industry and the Standard American Diet, this is probably a good start. However, I would not recommend this as reading for anyone who has already read In Defense of Food, as Food Rules will seem endlessly redundant and a waste of money to you.

Review by Johanna (Turf CSA member)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Black Dirt Gourmet Comes to Turf CSA!

Recently, Cheryl, our csa farmer, came down from the farm to present Turf CSA members the farm's very own line of prepared food called "Black Dirt Gourmet". She wanted to give the csa members some samples of what they could order from the farm when the csa starts up. First, she explained to us how the farm started making their own food and who makes the food. Her three main chefs that specialize in different fields all help make the food and they started Black Dirt Gourmet as a way of using up all the left-over vegetables from the year, so they wouldn't go to waste.

Then, Cheryl let us sample from the various foods she had brought. It was delicious! There were jams, soups, pickled eggs, salad dressings, and spreads, and pita chips that we could use to taste all the foods. They were simply amazing. One csa member even said she liked the asparagus dish even though generally, she didn't like asparagus. For the members that attended, it was very exciting. While we ate, Cheryl answered questions from csa members and as always, it was an interesting learning experience. In the end, the workshop literally gave the csa members a taste of what they could expect from Black Dirt Gourmet, in addition to being a lot of fun.

by Erika (Turf HS Intern)