|book review | September 2016
Three must-reads for any foodie
by Christine Kujawa
Blessing the Hands That Feed Us: What Eating Closer to Home Can Teach Us About Food, Community, and Our Place on Earth
by Vicki Robin
Penguin Group Publishing (2014)
In Blessing the Hands That Feed Us, Robin relays her personal story about embracing the local food movement near the Puget Sound, WA area where she resides. She challenges herself to eat only food grown and harvested within a 10-mile radius of her home for one month. She writes about her experiences throughout each week of the process, including both the benefits and complications. The book ends with a discussion on "relational eating" and her revelation that we should focus on local farming rather than industrial food systems. In turn, this results in having a better connection to the landscape, a feeling of belonging in the community, and local prosperity.
America Farm to Table: Simple, Delicious Recipes Celebrating Local Farmers
by Mario Batali
Hatchett Book Group (2014)
America Farm to Table is a recipe book and homage to local farmers all in one. Batali, a well-known chef and author of several Italian cuisine books, is motivated to delve into the popularity of cooking in relation to "farm-to-table" consumption. He cites that the "trick" to creating quality, restaurant-level food has nothing to do with the size of one's kitchen and expensive cooking gadgets, but rather in choosing ingredients that are fresh and locally grown. Batali sets off on an excursion across the country to meet with several of his favorite chefs and the local farmers, who he refers to as "rock stars," who provide them with their locally sourced ingredients. This book contains over 100 recipes.
The Nourishing Homestead: One Back-to-the-Land Family's Plan for Cultivating Soil, Skills, and Spirit
by Ben Hewitt
Chelsea Green Publishing (2015)
In The Nourishing Homestead, the Hewitt family shares their journey in starting a farmstead from scratch. In 1997, they started with an empty 40 acre lot. Since that time, they have established their self-built home, a pasture, vegetable and fruit crops, and live almost completely off-grid. While Hewitt shares a wealth of information regarding the particulars of starting and maintaining a homestead, there's also an emphasis on the reasons why this was an important life decision for them. They have a deeper connection to the Earth, are not deep in debt, embrace a simpler way of life, and feel healthier in both body and spirit. If you are serious about starting your own small homestead and connecting with the ecology around you, or want a better understanding about the operations of our local farmers, this is a must-read.
If the titles above pique your interest, you may also like these: The Seed Garden: The Art and Practice of Seed Saving, edited by Lee Buttala and Shanyn Siegel, includes information on seed saving from start to finish; Local: The New Face of Food and Farming in America by Douglas Gayeton is a compilation of experiences and stories of farmers across the country; and Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers' Markets, Local Food, and Saving the Family Farm by Forrest Pritchard is a memoir about Pritchard's challenging journey to rescue his family's farm.
All of these titles, and thousands of others, are available for checkout at the Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library.
Christine Kujawa is the library director at Bismarck Veterans Memorial Library. Follow the library on Facebook at facebook.com/bismarcklibrary.