I've been wanting to put some excerpts from some books I've read or have been reading up on the blog, and since weekends are slow in the blogosphere, I decided that the weekends were a perfect time to do it.
I hope to spur some good conversations with people from these excerpts, so I hope you will find them interesting, too.
"Knowing the secret natural history of potatoes, melons, or asparagus gives you a leg up on detecting whether those in your market are wholesome kids from a nearby farm, or vagrants who idled away their precious youth in a boxcar. Knowing how foods grow is to know how and when to look for them; such expertise is useful for certain kinds of people, namely, the ones who eat, no matter where they live or grocery shop.
Absence of that knowledge has rendered us a nation of wary label-readers, oddly uneasy in our obligate relationship with the things we eat. We call our food animals by different names after they're dead, presumably sparing ourselves any vision of the beefs and the porks running around on actual hooves. Our words for unhealthy contamination - "soiled" or "dirty" - suggest that if we really knew the number-one ingredient of a garden, we'd all head straight into therapy. I used to take my children's friends out to the garden to warm them up to the idea of eating vegetables, but this strategy sometimes backfired: they'd back away slowly saying, "Oh man, those things touched dirt!" Adults do the same by pretending it all comes from the clean, well-lighted grocery store. We're like petulant teenagers rejecting our mother. We know we came out of her, but ee-ew."
-From Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver