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Starred Review. We long for days gone by, when farmers were plentiful and prosperous, produce was free of chemicals and cows weren't mad. What can we do to return to safer, more flavorful and natural food? Vinton and Espuelas answer that question via this information-packed, well-written volume. The authors aren't dietitians, but they are excellent researchers and top-notch storytellers who love delicious food and believe it should not come at a cost to our health and to farmers' livelihood. They track the effects post-WWII industrialization has had on our food chain (sick animals, damaged land and oceans) and the unreal food that results. And they exhort us to consider that our food-shopping choices can transform not only our meals, but our landscape, society and culture, too. Profiles of independent farmers, bakers and cheese makers are inspiring (and include contact information). Grocery store aisle-by-aisle primers on food-centric terms and labels explain, for instance, the difference between "artesian well water," "mineral water" and "spring water," or the reasons why "corn-fed beef" isn't as wholesome as it sounds. This book gives readers tools for change, offering hope for a future rife with sustainable and flavorful food.
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Americans have become so used to shopping for food at supermarkets and giant discount warehouses that they have utterly lost the connection between food producers and those who eat what they produce. The authors of this treatise advocate for consumers to become aware of the food they eat, where it comes from, and how it's processed before it reaches their tables. They caution against consumer acceptance of genetically modified products. They suggest that wise consumers seek out local dairy producers and that they cultivate productive relationships with purveyors of meats and seafood. Taking this a step further, Vinton and Espuelas outline how consumers can effect positive change through co-ops and buying clubs. Interspersed among these prescriptions are profiles of farms and food suppliers involved in the promotion of sustainable agriculture and animal husbandry. An inventory of relevant books and a list of online resources help readers put in practice the book's food selection principles. Mark Knoblauch
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