My love for reading and attempting to write came later in life. Yes, I always read culinary books, but that was as far as I got with the written word.
Fiction, not a chance.
Not until I started working on a minor in English and writing and had to catch up with humanity on the classics. I did like the literature classes, maybe because the professor were knowledgeable enough to keep me engaged, and went deep into the paragraphs to the word level, the punctuation, the intention of the writer.
I miss that.
Reading in such way helped me understand its importance, the importance of reading that is. I stayed within the creative-non-fiction writing genre, especially food writing and culinary food memoirs. From Michael Pollan to Dan Barber and Ruth Reichl, to Anthony Bourdain, Bee Wilson and David Lebovitz.
All fascinating stories.
All related to food and travel.
So when it came time to join a book club, I longed for one that focused on the subject of food. Hard to find, right? But the reading gnomes worked hard to make it happened and in January I went to my first book club meeting. Slow Food Denver put together a list of awesome books, I must say, and sent a call of action to all of those, like me, who wanted to sit around a table and discuss “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” by Michael Pollan, or “The Third Plate,” by Dan Barber, to name a few.
Yes, dreams do come true!
Dreams can also bring you out to a reality that feels more like a nightmare. Reading about the U.S. food system is as depressing as going on a beach vacation to encounter pouring rain everyday. The set of laws that support industrial agriculture of mono crops, like corn and soy, which are used as fillers in processed foods or to feed animals that were not intended to eat grains but grass and therefore get sick and are injected with antibiotics, and almost punishes small farmers by subsidizing the big guys and making competition harder, are just the tip of the dysfunctional iceberg of this so call “system to help us feed the world.”
Thankfully Michel Pollan’s entertaining writing style takes the reader from page to page with ease and grace, hypnotizing her with fascinating facts and comical anecdotes. No wonder he has become of the most influential writers of the past decade. Barber, on the other hand, is more philosophical, and you can almost hear his lament over the series of atrocities we have done to the food we produce.
And that’s exactly what we do in this book club, well besides drink wine and eat.