What I’m Reading: Food Things

This is my reading nest.  If you don’t have one, you should make one.

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I’ve always been a book nerd, but I kind of started getting my reading fix from social media and the Internet in the last ten years.  This past year I noticed that I was getting on Facebook a lot…aaaaaand feeling hostile and mildly depressed afterwards.  But I couldn’t stop!  It was like the Oreo bag I just kept going back to.  It was then I realized something about myself:  I NEED TO READ.  But maybe not just exclusively on the Internet.  Then I remembered there were these things called books.  By people with fully formed thoughts, editors, and proper grammar use.

I decided to bring back my summer reading  (I started a couple of years ago when I got a library card and compiled my first summer reading list here, from Simple Mom).

Since I deleted my Facebook profile this past July, I have read so many books.  My low is maybe three a week.  I read really, really fast and if something bores me I toss it aside for something more interesting.

Also guys.  The library is so high-tech these days?  IT IS AWESOME.  It’s like compulsively ordering every book that interests me on Amazon, but without spending $200 a month on books.

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Books are magical adventures and I love them.

I got on a new kick last week after my brother sent me the book In Defense of Food. (My siblings and I love to fill our fool heads with book learnin’).

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Here is what I’m reading:

In Defense of Food, An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan

This would make my Must Read for Everyone Ever list.  “Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly Plants.”  The author is not a dietician, but a journalist, so the book is truly a record of discovery instead of just a bunch of opinions. Based on historical research, the author lays out our evolution from traditional diets to Western food (which really is more like edible, food-like substances than actual food).  What I liked about this is how it connected the dots between all the different food books I have read.  Yes, we know that our food is manufactured and making us fat and sick, but why?  And how did it get this way?  Why does the government promote industrialized food?  What can we do about it?   Another thing I appreciated about this book is how it underscored the fact that science doesn’t actually know that much about how food works.  The answer to our sickness and weight problems actually do not lie in the perfect combination of carb and proteins or the elimination of food groups.  The answer lies in the wisdom behind tradition, culture, environmental responsibility, and the consumption of local food sources.

I also checked out the companion booklet Food Rules, which boils down his research into like thirty or forty basic, common-sense rules about how to eat.  We have been so heavily marketed to by the food industry and fed so much confusing, scientific information that we don’t even know what it means to eat anymore.  So many diets contain shreds of truth but fall short of offering a whole answer.

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The Davis Farmer’s Market Cook Book by Georgeanne Brennan and Anne Evans

I don’t know how many times I have heard “eat local and seasonal.”   I romanticize the thought, but I have simply never been able to wrap my mind around the practicals of cooking delicious meals from local and seasonal ingredients.  Especially with foods that I am just not familiar with!  (Google has been no help in this department.)  After reading In Defense of Food, I got re-inspired.  I signed back up for our CSA box and tracked down this local cookbook at my library.  (Davis is a town about twenty minutes away with an amazing year-round farmer’s market.)  I love the way this book lays out the recipes! It gives you eight base recipes and then tells you how to vary them with seasonal ingredients…yummy things like risotto and savory tarts!   Now that I can do.  The history of how the Davis Farmer’s Market is also really interesting.  I feel proud to live in a region that is a leader in the organic food movement.

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A Pig in Provence by Georgeanne Brennan

I have known about Georgeanne’s work for a long time, since she was one of David’s first web clients years ago.  We have four of her books and I’m so ashamed to admit I’ve never really read them cover to cover!  (However, they are so beautiful that they have always been on display in my house.)  I had always heard about her book A Pig in Provence; and I finally decided to get it!  It is the story how she and her husband and their young daughter moved from Southern California to Provence in the 1970’s to escape the turmoil of the post-Vietnam era.  They took a leap of faith, bought a farm house and started a simple life in rural France making goat cheese.  The results were lifelong friendships with the locals and a deep love for seasonal living.  This book contains everything I love:  French food culture, tantalizing descriptions of food, and engrossing travel memoirs.  It’s the perfect backdrop for her cook books.

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The Food and Flavors of Haute Provence by Georgeanne Brennan

I can’t even believe this book has been on my shelf for like a jillion years.  I have just started reading this book of recipes Georgeanne learned from her years spent in France.   (I’m also reading a couple of her other cookbooks, Great Greens and Aperitif.)  French food isn’t necessarily fancy or complex…it’s just a way of cooking and eating that has been well-preserved through the generations.  I really enjoy the rich history and tradition attached to these foods from the South of France:  a little French, a little Mediterranean.

Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten

I’ve always liked Ina Garten.  I think she is the perfect mix of huggable Grandma and food snob.  She has a special place in her heart for French cuisine and Provencal herbs, which also endears me.  When I Google a recipe, I will often end up with one of hers and I’m never disappointed. Netflix added her show in a series called Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics.  As a result of wanting to try every recipe, I decided to grab the book from my library.  After reading the personal stories sprinkled throughout the book, I became an official Ina groupie.  (Now who wouldn’t love that? 😉 )

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Grow Great Grub by Gayla Trail

This is a book about small-space organic gardening that David got last year for Christmas.  Guys, I have read a lot of articles, blogs and books about gardening, but always walked way confused and overloaded with information.  I felt the opposite after I finished this.  This author does an amazing job at laying out a lot of complex information in an easy-to-understand format.  I love her casual, talking-to-me-in-person writing style.   After finishing this, I feel like I have enough of a base understanding to really dig in to the overwhelming subject of organic gardening.   I have checked out several other books the author recommends and my compost is rolling!

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That’s what I’m reading right now!

Whenever I read a really note-worthy book (which is really like one in every maybe fifteen books), I Instagram it.  I started my own hashtag, #fayereads so that I could group my favorite books together for you guys whenever you are  looking for a good read.  It’s something I know I can keep up with on the regular and easily refer people to when they ask me for a book recommendation.  So if you’re looking for a good read, head over to the hash tag!

(Edit:  due to changes made by Instagram, my hash tag no longer exists!  I’m really bummed about that , but I started a new menu tab for reading here on the blog!)  

 

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  • http://Www.sexandtheknitty.com/ Sara Wutzke

    I totally missed this post! Man, you hit the nail on the head with how Facebook is making me feel lately and I just finished my first book in a long time and I am a READER! I don’t blog as much anymore either because I feel like I’ve already said it all through pithy comments and statuses. Ohhhh this is really tempting me to take a Facebook fast during Jareds deployment and focus more on doing the things that make me happy…like reading the posts on blogs ;), reading books, knitting of course and, oh yeah, my children :/ thanks for this nudge!

    • Jules Linee

      I agree Sara, FB seems to suck the time out of my day. Been on it far less lately and feeling happier as a result. Devoting more time to dog walking, blackberry picking and cooking…. :)