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November 28, 2009

More Books and Films about Food

Do we really need more recipes for beef stew, polenta, and ratatouille? If they're the result of the work and creativity of famed restaurateur and "food activist" Alice Waters...

...yes, in fact. In The Art of Simple Food, Waters offers 200-plus recipes for these and other simple but savory dishes, like Spicy Cauliflower Soup, Fava Bean Purée, and Braised Chicken Legs, as well as dessert formulas for unexpected concoctions like Nectarine and Blueberry Crisp or Tangerine Ice.

Besides these recipes, readers will encounter (or become reacquainted with) the Waters mantra: eat locally and sustainably; eat seasonally; shop at farmers markets. These are the rules by which she approaches food and cooking, and presumes we will be inspired to follow as well.

Alice Waters is the founder of the celebrated San Francisco restaurant Chez Panisse and a leading proponent of gardens in public schools and the slow food movement.

As a class project, what could be better than preparing (and, of course, eating) luscious food together? And, even better, if you have a sustained time together like a semester or summer session, how about preparing and growing a garden? There is nothing like fresh vegetables - or fresh berries - to inspire students to expand their sense of food beyond the usual fast food and pizza orbit.

To move into scarier territory, consider Michael Pollan whose dictum is "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
His first major book In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto tells you more than you want to know (unless you want to live a healthy life) about how food is treated before it gets into your hands - or more precisely - into that box or can in the grocery store.

Pollan's rules are simple: Avoid anything that can't rot, anything with an ingredient you can't pronounce, and anything your grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.

Pollan is also featured in the films (available on DVD) King Corn and Food, Inc.

One more food book recommendation for you; when it comes to chronicling a personal journey, you can't beat
Barbara Kingsolver, who, along with her husband and two daughters, made a commitment to become locavores–those who eat only locally grown foods. They grew and raised most themselves while the rest came from local farmers' markets. She wrote that It only cost 50 cents a meal to feed the Kingsolver family of four for a year. Sounds like some relevant advice during this crazy economy - if not all the time. All of her book are good, but be sure to check out Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

As always, there is far more to food, than just food.

Eat well, eat fresh and take care of your friends.

We are all always learning. And it is always more fun to learn together.

Let me know what it is about English that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.


About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf prefers international and independent films, foreign foods he can't pronounce, music no one else has heard of and riding his bicycle in foreign cities.

Posted by mmorf at November 28, 2009 06:23 PM

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