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
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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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  - quantum_flapdoodle - 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


Preface and Acknowledgments
The Cruelest Months
Saguaro Fruit and Cactus Icons
Mesquite Tortillas and Duck Eggs
Tomato Hornworms and Summer Storms
Scouting for Wild Greens and Chiles
Seed Saving and Foraging in the Heartland
The Frontera Grill and the Frontiers of Technology
Sea Turtle Soup and ByCatch Stew
The Nomads Movable Feast and the Taste
Hunting Mushrooms and Grilling Salmon
Feasting with the Dead
The Reflective Months
The WTO in Seattle and the Spirit of St Louis
Hunting Quail and Stalking Scavengers
Mexicos Breadbasket of Toxins and Migrants

From Toxic Cornfields to Rattlesnake Roadkills
The Headwaters and the Foodshed
The Fertile Valleys and Their Wild Varmints
The Desert Walk for Heritage and Health

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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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