Good morning. Some good reads, in no particular order.
The people behind our food. One of the best books we have ever read is Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation. The young reader’s version of the book sparked activism in a group of middle school students we knew; it was wonderful to behold. Schlosser is an investigative journalist and his work continues to highlight concerns with the nation’s food system. In a terrific Q&A with Anna Lappé for Civil Eats, Schlosser discusses a range of topics, including labor issues and the true cost of poverty and inequality when it comes to the price of our food. Really terrific read.
Pollan hits the big screen and writes a letter to the future. Michael Pollan’s best-selling book – In Defense of Food — has been made into a documentary. And it’s already won an award at the Prague International Life Sciences Film Festival. It airs on PBS on December 30th. This book is another favorite of ours; we can’t wait to see the film. Nathanael Johnson shares more information in this piece appearing in Grist. (Johnson did some early work on the script, which is another selling point for us).
We love time capsules…especially if we can read “future” letters and gain insight from their wisdom now. Pollan has recently written a letter to the future as part of the Letters to the Future campaign, which is a national effort encouraging a broad range of people to write six generations into the future about climate change. The organizers are focusing this work to highlight the need for world leaders to agree on a global climate treaty. Visit the site: the letters are absolutely stunning.
ICYMI: finding a new way. How a former gang member ended up a baker at Bouchon Beverly Hills. Javier Medina is a bread baker at Bouchon, a leading Beverly Hills eatery. His presence there is improbable. Medina’s training? Not a culinary program, but rather, the kitchens of California state prisons where he served time for a series of felonies, including armed robbery. Medina’s second chance came from a partnership between Bouchon and Homeboy industries, an organization we love for many reasons, one being that it provides “second chances” to so many, with food (cooking, catering and manufacturing) being a language of redemption. An incredibly uplifting story…the kind we need to read more of. Written by the incomparable Russ Parsons, for the Los Angeles Times. Editor’s Note: Russ has recently announced that after 26 years, he’ll be leaving the Los Angeles Times. We wish him well and offer him our gratitude for being one of the journalists whose work we’ve most admired for well over two decades. Best of luck and congratulations on a terrific run. We can’t wait to read your next life chapter…
Hard to sum up in 140 words, but after 26 extraordinary years, I'm leaving the @latimes. I'll always be grateful for my time here. 1/2
— Russ Parsons (@Russ_Parsons1) November 13, 2015
History: 13 million acres, no mule. Via Southern Foodways Alliance. Students from Dr. Catarina Passidomo’s Southern Foodways and Culture course at the University of Mississippi have been sharing reflections on the class readings and discussions this semester. Graduate student Irene Van Riper writes a brief review of an important book: Dispossession: Discrimination Against African American Farmers in the Age of Civil Rights by Pete Daniel. Pair with our Q&A with Shirley Sherrod.
Planning your Thanksgiving Feast. The New York Times has organized a really wonderful online site to help you plan and execute your Thanksgiving feast. The interactive tool will help you plan your menu and portions. There are also some terrific cooking guides that make it easy to brush up on the basics (or acquire some new skills). Recipes galore, too. Simply nifty.
Have a great day.