Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Book Review: Appreciating the Hands That Feed Us

Five Lessons from Blessing the Hands That Feed Us (Vickie Robin, 2014)

By the author of the bestselling Your Money or Your Life, this book is about "what eating closer to home can teach us about food, community, and our place on earth."  I learned appreciation.  

1.  Appreciation for mindful eating in the sense of making the effort to think about the work that went into planting, growing and harvesting your food.  You may eat less if you truly value this.  It is easier to overeat from an anonymous bag of something from the big box grocery store than it is with a pound of something you paid dearly for and smiled at the farmer when you purchased it.

2.  Appreciation for the potential purity of food.  Food starts out as one item, one pure simple item, before it is processed, adulterated, packaged, transported.  Eating close to the source shows you pure food.

3.  Appreciation for the seasons.  Certain foods are meant to be eaten at certain times of the year, for optional cost, flavor, nutrition.  Think about the carbon footprint of a tomato in Virginia in August versus a tomato in January?  Think about the flavor of a summer tomato versus a winter tomato.  Think about the cost of a farm stand, in season tomato versus a hot house, off season tomato.

4.  Appreciation for devoting time to eating well.  We are not so busy as to not take the time to eat properly.  What are we doing that is more important than preparing and enjoying a healthful meal, with others?  What could possibly be more important than nourishment and fellowship?  This is not meant in judgment-we've all eaten in our car, at the kitchen counter, or straight out of a package.  Be realistic, but do stop and think about it.

5.  Appreciation for our agricultural history - the pioneers, the dust bowl, the victory gardens, the families who lost the farm.  Those were the original locavores, before being a locavore was hip.

This is a great, inspiring, thought provoking book.  The author leaves you with an understanding of "relational eating", and where you stand in the center of your own food web.

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