Be The Expert

 Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert (Julie @ JulzReads): Three ways to join in this week! You can either share three or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).

I read a lot of the history and politics surrounding food.

“Food writer Jonathan Kauffman journeys back more than half a century—to the 1960s and 1970s—to tell the story of how a coterie of unusual men and women embraced an alternative lifestyle that would ultimately change how modern Americans eat. Impeccably researched, Hippie Food chronicles how the longhairs, revolutionaries, and back-to-the-landers rejected the square establishment of President Richard Nixon’s America and turned to a more idealistic and wholesome communal way of life and food.

From the mystical rock-and-roll cult known as the Source Family and its legendary vegetarian restaurant in Hollywood to the Diggers’ brown bread in the Summer of Love to the rise of the co-op and the origins of the organic food craze, Kauffman reveals how today’s quotidian whole-foods staples—including sprouts, tofu, yogurt, brown rice, and whole-grain bread—were introduced and eventually became part of our diets. From coast to coast, through Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, Minnesota, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Vermont, Kauffman tracks hippie food’s journey from niche oddity to a cuisine that hit every corner of this country.”

“When Brent Preston, his wife, Gillian, and their two young children left Toronto ten years ago, they arrived on an empty plot of land with no machinery, no money and not much of a clue. Through a decade of grinding toil, they built a real organic farm, one that is profitable, sustainable, and their family’s sole source of income. Along the way they earned the respect and loyalty of some of the best chefs in North America, and created a farm that is a leading light in the good food movement.
Told with humour and heart in Preston’s unflinchingly honest voice, The New Farm arrives at a time of unprecedented interest in food and farming, with readers keenly aware of the overwhelming environmental, social and moral costs of our industrial food system. The New Farm offers a vision for a hopeful future, a model of agriculture that brings people together around good food, promotes a healthier planet, and celebrates great food and good living.”

“Barber explores the evolution of American food from the ‘first plate,’ or industrially-produced, meat-heavy dishes, to the ‘second plate’ of grass-fed meat and organic greens, and says that both of these approaches are ultimately neither sustainable nor healthy. Instead, Barber proposes Americans should move to the ‘third plate,’ a cuisine rooted in seasonal productivity, natural livestock rhythms, whole-grains, and small portions of free-range meat.”

“Chef José Andrés arrived in Puerto Rico four days after Hurricane Maria ripped through the island. The economy was destroyed and for most people there was no clean water, no food, no power, no gas, and no way to communicate with the outside world.

Andrés addressed the humanitarian crisis the only way he knew how: by feeding people, one hot meal at a time. From serving sancocho with his friend José Enrique at Enrique’s ravaged restaurant in San Juan to eventually cooking 100,000 meals a day at more than a dozen kitchens across the island, Andrés and his team fed hundreds of thousands of people, including with massive paellas made to serve thousands of people alone.. At the same time, they also confronted a crisis with deep roots, as well as the broken and wasteful system that helps keep some of the biggest charities and NGOs in business.”


  • Kelly @ STACKED

    I did my “be the expert” on food books, and now I have four more books to add to my reading list. Hippie Food was on my list for a while but this might be my big push. Great picks!

  • Kate W

    Interesting topic! I like reading about food as well, particularly history and food. There’s a couple of podcasts you might find interesting – Gastropod and Why We Eat What We Eat.

  • Michael

    Great recommendations! I appreciate that so many of these focus on sustainable farming and dietary practices. I’ve watched several documentaries on the subject, but I’ve yet to read any books on it. The Third Plate seems like a helpful place to begin.

    • heather

      Michael Pollan is great. He’s sort of a gateway drug into reading a lot about food politics. He just wrote a book about LSD. I tried to read it but I quit because I worried that he would convince me that I need to try it. LOL

  • Kazen

    Ooo, nice list! The Third Plate sounds interesting to me – closer to the way the Japanese eat (I live in Japan) especially on the vegetable side, though maybe not so much on the meat. Andres does such amazing work, I’m sure the book is great, too!

  • Mae

    Good list! I’ve read “Hippie Food” and “The Third Plate.” Problem with what Barber has to say is that it’s not remotely scalable! He has a high-end restaurant in NY City and an upscale place out in the countryside, and thinks everyone can live like his customers. So it’s interesting and engaging and to me completely unconvincing. I’ve read reviews of “The New Farm” and I suspect that its approach has some of the same challenges — like it’s nice for rural people but most of the world’s population live in cities and need to be fed in massive ways.

    best… mae at

    • heather

      The New Farm does cover this. They evolve over time from the “hippie ideal” into a commercial farm specializing a few crops and working within the existing food distribution structure which makes some organic food purists pretty angry with them.

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