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Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of Local Foodsby Gary Paul Nabhan
Synopses & Reviews
A celebration of food and culture with a social conscience, in the tradition of M. F. K. Fisher and Frances Moore Lappé.
In our molecules and in our dreams, we really are what we eat. Eating close to home is not just a matter of convenience — it is an act of deeply sensual, cultural, and environmental significance.
Gary Paul Nabhan's experience with food permeates his life as a first-generation Lebanese American, as an avid gardener and subsistence hunter-gatherer, as an ethnobotanist preserving seed diversity, and as an activist devoted to recovering native food traditions to restore the health of Native Americans in the Southwest. To rediscover what it might mean to "know your foodshed," he spent a year trying to eat only foods grown, fished, or gathered within two hundred miles of his home — with surprising results. In Coming Home to Eat, Nabhan draws these experiences together in a book that is a culmination of his life's work — and a vibrant portrait of the essential cultural relations to the foods that truly nourish us, affirming our bonds to family, community, landscape, and season.
"Gary Nabhan is reawakening in modern America that inalienable need to delve deeply, sensually into its sustenance, the earth from which it springs, the hands that help it reach our plates and stomachs. He offers an elegant, inspired, and eloquently detailed account of becoming a 'direct participant'(to use his words) in the food that sustains him, and the lives of those around him." Rick Bayless, founding member of Chefs Collaborative and host of Public Television's "Mexico-One Plate at a Time"
"Gary Nabhan is one of the most seminal thinkers in the environmental movement and very probably in the greater arena. Coming Home to Eat is a profound and engaging book, a passionate call to us to re-think our food industry and to return when possible to our own locale for the sources of what we cook and eat." Jim Harrison, author of The Beast God Forgot to Invent
"Gary Paul Nabhan is a brilliant scientist (ethno-botany) and remarkably successful social activist. For a couple of decades he's helped people in the Southwest figure out how to eat for good health and economically. In Coming Home to Eat Nabhan weaves ideas about eating right into his interest in the pleasure of caring for ecosystems and communities. His stories are often funny and always invaluable." William Kittredge, author of The Nature of Generosity
"Gary Paul Nabhan knows the whims of nature and human nature and writes with a passion for those of us who still see and trust the wild in our land. His stories celebrate the sense of place that belongs in all our foods." David Mas Masumoto, organic farmer and author of Epitaph for a Peach and Harvest Son
"A practical primer on how to 'eat locally, think globally' (and enjoy it more) wherever you are. Nabhan explores one of the greatest sources of global despoliation and tells us exactly what we can do about it: eat consciously, and eat foods grown close at hand." Stanley Crawford, author of A Garlic Testament: Seasons on a Small New Mexico Farm
"Nabhan brings the rare combination of the sensual and the intellectual to his writing about food. Weaving together the traditions of Thoreau and M. F. K Fisher, Nabhan speaks to those of us concerned about the shifting value of food in our culture. With a healthy dose of self-effacing humor, Nabhan challenges the wisdom of buying into the planetary supermarket and offers his personal journey to eat locally as an alternative. It is a soul food treatise for our time." Peter Hoffman, chef owner of the Savoy Restaurant in New York City and national chair of the Chefs Collaborative
"Nabhan is a very good writer, capable of transforming his adventures into a colorful and engrossing story that will appeal even to readers who might not enjoy a freshly prepared dish of locally obtained caterpillars." Merle Rubin, Los Angeles Times
"Nabhan makes us understand how finding and eating local foods connects us deeply and sensually with where we are." Alice Waters
"[E]loquent, richly evocative... fascinating, enlightening and moving." Los Angeles Times
"I opened the book warily, ever on guard against the moralism and class privilege that so often taint the 'natural foods' movement. Nabhan disarmed me quickly with his political take on eating and his command of statistical data on land ownership, water and energy consumption, and corporate profits.... Coming Home to Eat is an exposé with an honorable sense, companion reading to Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation." Cheri Register, Ruminator Review
"Amazing and eloquent....Nabhan makes us understand how finding and eating local foods connects us deeply and sensually."--Alice Waters, Chez Panisse
Issuing a "profound and engaging...passionate call to us to re-think our food industry" (Jim Harrison, author of ), Gary Paul Nabhan reminds us that eating close to home is not just a matter of convenience--it is an act of deep cultural and environmental significance. Embodying "a perspective...at once ecological, economic, humanistic, and spiritual" (), Nabhan has dedicated his life to raising awareness about food--as an avid gardener, as an ethnobotanist preserving seed diversity, and as an activist devoted to recovering native food traditions in the Southwest. This "inspired and eloquently detailed account" (Rick Bayless, Chefs Collaborative) tells of his year-long mission to eat only foods grown, fished, or gathered within two hundred miles of his home. "A good book for gardeners to read this winter" (), Nabhan's work "weav[es] together the traditions of Thoreau and M. F. K. Fisher [in] a soul food treatise for our time" (Peter Hoffman, Chefs Collaborative).
About the Author
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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