Monday, April 19, 2010

Food, and Cognitive Dissonance

My 10yo son and I are reading next to each other on the couch.

My book: Cathy Erway's The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove. This book is a lighthearted romp through adventurous but non-restaurant-based eating in New York City. The author incorporates everything from news of her love life, details of parties, friendly information about food politics, and great recipes. It is all about the pleasures of food.

My son's book, being read for the local library's "Banned Books Club": Upton Sinclair's 1906 The Jungle. This book was perhaps the first major food expose, highlighting in VERY graphic ways the horrors of the meat-packing industry. If you think information about factory farms is grotesque, this book will blow you away. (Think workers falling in the rendering vat and being ground up with animal parts.) Although the author's intention was to analyze the terrible working conditions of working class and immigrant laborers, most readers came away shocked by food safety issues and ready to demand changes. As Sinclair said, "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach."

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