Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of Local Food

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W. W. Norton & Company, Jul 6, 2009 - Cooking - 336 pages
6 Reviews
Nabhan, a subsistence hunter, ethnobiologist, and activist devoted to recovering lost food traditions, gave himself a task: to spend a year trying to eat foods grown, fished, or gathered within 250 miles of his Arizona home. His book, both personal document and political screed, details this experiment from the moment Nabhan purges his kitchen of canned and other processed foods ("If this year could resolve anything for me, perhaps it would rid me of the desire to ever again buy any packaged food that boasted of its homemade flavor....") to a final food-gathering pilgrimage. That journey underscores Nabhan's conviction that we have too easily believed "the vacuous nutritional promises of the industrialized food that has sold our health down the river." In fact, the book encompasses an ongoing pilgrimage, during which Nabhan explores, for example, the near loss of saguaro cactus fruit as a dietary staple due to saguaro's use for "local color" in shopping malls, golf courses, and retirement centers. Readers, converted, skeptical, or just curious, will find Nabhan's book a source of many simple and stirring truths. "Until we stop craving to be somewhere else and someone else other than the animals whose very cells are constituted from the place on earth we love the most," he writes, "then there is little reason to care about the fate of native foods, family farms, or healthy landscapes and communities." But care we must, as the book shows so enlighteningly.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jarvenpa - LibraryThing

A thought provoking book indeed. Disclaimer, I'm a vegetarian, so the sequences about slaughter of nicely raised critters just provoked in my mind "really, you don't need to do that!". But fascinating ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Devil_llama - LibraryThing

The author tells a good story, bringing the characters to life, as he describes his year of eating locally. He would eat nothing for a year but that which was grown in his own locality - a difficult ... Read full review

Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
13
The Cruelest Months
31
Saguaro Fruit and Cactus Icons
103
Mesquite Tortillas and Duck Eggs
118
Tomato Hornworms and Summer Storms
133
Scouting for Wild Greens and Chiles
139
Seed Saving and Foraging in the Heartland
151
The Frontera Grill and the Frontiers of Technology
165
Sea Turtle Soup and ByCatch Stew
216
The Nomads Movable Feast and the Taste
224
Hunting Mushrooms and Grilling Salmon
238
Feasting with the Dead
244
The Reflective Months
255
The WTO in Seattle and the Spirit of St Louis
262
Hunting Quail and Stalking Scavengers
275
Mexicos Breadbasket of Toxins and Migrants
281

From Toxic Cornfields to Rattlesnake Roadkills
172
The Headwaters and the Foodshed
191
The Fertile Valleys and Their Wild Varmints
208
The Desert Walk for Heritage and Health
289
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About the author (2009)

Gary Paul Nabhan, a prize-winning essayist and agricultural ecologist, serves as a Distinguished Research Scientist with the Southwest Center at the University of Arizona. He lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.

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