What Do You Believe About Food?

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: science , food trends , controversy , books

 

Do You Believe Any of the Following Statements? 1. The "locavore" movement (shopping and eating locally) is a good practice. 2. Shortening food miles (the distance your food travels) helps the environment. 3. Organic gardening and farming techniques are superior to traditional methods. 4. GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are inherently evil. 5. Eating meat is a perfectly acceptable practice.

If you do believe any of them, you may be totally wrong and all of these statements are completely false, according to James E. McWilliams, author of a new book entitled Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly. This is a shocking book because it rationally explores and deconstructs all the objections to popular ideas about what constitutes a healthy and ethical diet.  McWilliams, an associate professor at Texas State University and the author of A Revolution in Eating, the best food history of U.S. colonial and post-colonial food, goes way, way out on a limb here, and in an email last week I told him to watch his back because of the backlash of true believers in the above statement.  I think he makes excellent arguments and that the other side of the story should be told.  That said, this book is not easy reading--you have to pay close attention, have an open mind, and be something of a skeptic yourself.  I would like to hear comments--but only from people who have actually read the book.  You can buy the book here.

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