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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Kitchen Literacy



I grew up knowing where my food came from. My dad grew most of our food, and our neighbors grew the rest. Few things were bought in a store, or imported from other parts of the country.  In my life time, I've seen many changes in the way we acquire food for our daily sustenance and the way we eat, all of which worry me and my neighbors.

Many small farmers have been replaced by mega-industrial complexes, on a basis beyond our imagination.  Most of our food comes from places we have never visited, handled in ways we do not understand. Only when a big medical scare erupts somewhere, we then question our relationship to our food; we demand regulations after many people die from e-coli or other food born pathogens.

Ann Vileisis has written a seminal historal account of how we have lost our relationship to our food with Kitchen Literacy. In this book, she traces the history of how food production and food consumption has changed.  This is not just another set of historical facts packed with footnotes and references.

"Kitchen Literacy goes to the heart of our disconnection from one of the most vital intimate aspects of our lives-how we feed ourselves and our families." Michael Ableman, farmer and author of Fields of Plenty.


Published by Island Press and available at your local book store or library, Kitchen Literacy

is a must read!

34 comments:

Rob-bear said...

You've raised a crucial issue — crucial for so many reasons.

Thanks for the tip.

potsoc said...

Guess we are lucky. Our IGA Extra store has many locally grown produce, we have a farm about 6 Km from home where we can have fresh vegetables from May to almost November and orchard picked apples fresh from September to November.
Our butcher, Les Saveurs des Sévelin, gets his meat from a nearby bio farm and cures and cuts it himself with his wife, two children and their companions.
I guess that is as close to nature and your food origin in a 300 thousand plus city.

Wander to the Wayside said...

I've noticed that many more people in our neighborhood are tilling up their back yards this week with the nice weather - really good sized ones, not just a tiny one for tomatoes. With the economy the way it is, and all the food scares this last few years, not to mention how unhealthy our eating habits are in the first place, I'm not a bit surprised at this new pattern. I think, also, that we are 'hunkerin' down' a bit more, returning to a more family/home oriented scenerio. One can only hope it gathers momentum.

Helen said...

Sounds like a 'must read.' I'm still waiting to bite into a tomato that tastes like those my grandparents harvested .....

Tabor said...

I have always had a close relationship with the source of my food growing up on a farm. It is hard for me to realize that some children think food comes in a bottle or box!

Snowbrush said...

I grew up much as you did. In my part of the woods, most people still didn't have electricity, so all that water for their gardens was carried in a bucket.

She Writes said...

I grew up with an idea of where my food came from, but little did I know what chemicals were used grow it.

Marguerite said...

We are so lucky, here in Cajun country! We get all wonderful, fresh, local produce and seafood, most of the year. Sounds like a great book!

Everyday Goddess said...

I wish I could have a greenhouse for growing vegs. and herbs. I make do with good weather now.

Brian Miller said...

putting it on the list.
sad to see many of the true farms in our area going under...

becky at abbeystyle said...

okey, dokey, thanks for the head-up! I'm on to the next good read.

Dimple said...

I haven't decided to garden this year, but there is still time....

Journaling Woman said...

Sometimes I wonder if we don't take our food for granted. As a child we always had three meals a day but there was rarely anything extra. Not like today, when I go raid the pantry or frig when I get the urge.

willow said...

Sounds like a great book. I'm making a note of it. Thanks!

Eva Gallant said...

I grew up pretty much like you. I'll check out the book.

Velva said...

This is such an important issue. My hat is off to you for raising awareness through your blog.

Americans should be encouraged to have home gardens. More importantly, we should have a relationship with our local farmers that produce our food.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

This is a topic of interest to me- going to start my first garden this month....

I think I might pick up that book too.

Hilary said...

I envy those who are self-reliant as far as food goes. It's the one thing that illustrates to me just how far we are from nature.

Natalie said...

I think we can only go back from whence we came. Also, there is the joy factor of growing your own food......it is indeed, food for the soul. ♥

the walking man said...

On eof the worst things about industrialization is how we have reduced the small farm with many hands to the huge with few that only need another chemical to make it bigger better and more resistant.

Diana said...

So true!

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Great post. There's a documentary along these lines - Food, Inc.

Reya Mellicker said...

Blogger just ate my comment ... which probably relates to knowing where your food comes from.

Thanks for the review, Rosaria.

Sarah Laurence said...

It sounds like an interesting book. I'm counting the weeks until our farmer's market is back. Sadly, the growing season in Maine is limited.

Robyn said...

Thanks Rosaria for posting this.
This topic really interests me and it's one that I've been discussing in recent days.

There's a short film titled~new thinking about what we're eating - 'Fresh' by ana Sofia joanes www.freshthemovie.com that I had the pleasure of viewing late last year that also hits on this topic.

x robyn

Simon C. Larter said...

I agree. My wife and I are planting our vegetable garden much more extensively this year for precisely that reason. I like knowing where my food comes from.

I'm choosing to believe this does not make me a curmudgeon. Merely enlightened.

RNSANE said...

I hope they get this book at our local library. I do long for those wonderful farmer's markets some places have. My son always went to the Thursday evening one in San Luis Obispo when he was a Cal Poly student. It is a nice one and I never miss it when I'm down for my annual spring conference. We have some locally as well but I rarely visit them.

Margo said...

thanks for the recommmendation, Rosaria! I've been a member of a food coop for years. It has changed my whole family's ideas on where food comes from. I was very disheartened that recently our president appointed a "chief agriculture negotiator" who was strongly opposed by food environmentalist and small farmers.Here's an article about him:

http://cli.gs/33umJR

BLOGitse said...

You're so right. Too many people don't know where the milk comes
or
Mac needs animals to make burgers...
Strawberries used to be sweet and juicy...

BLOGitse

Carol@ Writers Porch/ Book House said...

Rosaria, this sounds like an interesting read. I love that we grow a lot of our food, our beef and get our eggs fresh daily.
That meal from Tony's is my kind of eating too! XOXO :)

Midlife Jobhunter said...

You might like some of Michael Pollan's book as well - The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food. My garden is organic - my husband's lawn a toxic waste dump.

Natalie said...

Good post, Rosaria. :)

Lori ann said...

Farmers Market. We are So lucky to have one each day of the week here, there is no excuse to not buy local (here anyway).

Nancy said...

Thanks. I'll put it on my list.