Round Rock New Neighbors is a social organization of women welcoming women in the Round Rock area since 1978. Both "new" and "old" neighbors are welcome. For more information: rrnewneighbors.org [Barnes & Noble requires that RRNN's book club be open to the public, so you do not need to be an RRNN member to attend book club, and both men and women are welcome and do attend. ]

Literary Events

The Friends of the Georgetown Public Library’s Hill Country Authors Series events will be listed here. Next event:

Nov 1, 2017 2:00 PM in the Georgetown Public Library.

Highlight and right click on this "link" to see everything you need to know to attend. https://folgeorgetown.org/event/hcas-meg-gardiner/
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The Nobel Prize in Literature was given to author Kazuo Ishiguro.
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Amazon is planning a video series based on stories by Philip K. Dick. Date of release is not yet announced.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Food for Thought

Over coffee and cookies, we talked about The End of Overeating, by David A. Kessler and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It seemed that a few more had read The End of Overeating than Animal Vegetable. As discussion leader, Claudia (me) gave some interesting biographical information about David A. Kessler and not much about Barbara Kingsolver. Kingsolver has a beautifully written autobiography on her website, http://www.kingsolver.com/. I see no point in paraphrasing it, as I wouldn't assume I could improve on anything Kingsolver wrote. Click on her biography tab and at the bottom of that page, it lets you know that she has "revealed" herself in an autobiographical section. It's well worth reading and yet there isn't much in it to talk about.  Kingsolver has lived the private life of one who loves to write and became a successful writer. Her Kentucky roots have brought her back to where she lives today, on a farm in rural Virginia.

Kessler has a variety of unusual facts attributed to him: He was a Republican, appointed by George H.W. Bush as head of the Food and Drug Administration in 1990. He stayed in the position through the Democratic Clinton administration, to 1997. Under his direction, the nutrition facts labels on foods became required. Upon realizing that cigarettes, used as intended, tended to kill people, Kessler led a campaign against the tobacco companies. He wrote a book about the fight, explaining about the strong lobbies and lawyers employed by big tobacco. (A Question of Intent: A Great American Battle With a Deadly Industry) in 2002.

Other biographical information I found interesting about Kessler was that he completed medical school and law school within 2 years of each other, spent time in Chile's dumpsters digging for information on ingredients that no one with the company would tell him, and was fired as Chancellor of University of California San Francisco for blowing the whistle on illegal financial reporting and was exonerated. Currently, Kessler seems to be Twittering about articles and stories coming up in the media about foods and drugs.

I didn't take notes on our conversation at the meeting. I was leading the discussion and getting wrapped up in it, too. Just couldn't do the notes, and now I am somewhat lost without them as to report details of our meeting. So I will say we had a lively discussion centered on food and some of the current food situation controversies. Some of our members are very knowledgeable about food topics in the media and all have first-hand experience with food! The books seemed to give us points to leap from, to discuss our current situations and in some cases some memories about the past world of eating. I can think of just a few direct comments or critiques involving material in the two books.

I particularly remember Marla's short story about how her grandparents always would save seeds and plant them after eating good foods, such as peaches. I did that, too, in my youth, though I never did grow a peach or apple tree that way. Marla went on to say that when her family visited her here and suggested planting a peach pit, she had an impulse to roll her eyes and tell them to throw the pit into the garbage. Of course, she handled it more diplomatically than that but did not plant the seed.

Carol admitted that The End of Overeating stimulated her appetite, with it's descriptions of successful and delicious but unhealthy restaurant offerings.

I believe that toward the end of our meeting, we were talking about the locavore movement and big mono-culture farming and how all this is affecting and must in the future affect the whole world. Dennis brought out the statistic that it takes 1.6 acres to feed a person, and there will be only .5 acres available as time and population move forward.

These being my nominations, I very much enjoyed reading both of these books. Kessler's book had interesting studies described to back up his claims about how sweets and fats and salt combine to addict us to certain restaurant treats. Kingsolver's descriptions of nature, farming, and even the political issues were absorbing, making every word important for the experience of reading the book. This was a book to savor while reading and maybe savor again later by trying some of the included recipes! I appreciated hearing everyone's thoughts and knowledge about the problems and solutions currently in the media about food!

Other books on the topic mentioned: The Taste of Tomorrow: Dispatches from the Future of Food, by Josh Schonwald; The Locavore's Dilemma: In Praise of the 10,000-Mile Diet, by Pierre Desrochers and Hiroko Shimizu;Taste What You're Missing: The Passionate Eater's Guide to Why Good Food Tastes Good, by Barb Stuckey; Get Jiro!, by Anthony Bourdain; and French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters, by Karen Le Billon.

Along with farmer's markets, which have become more and more plentiful in our area, home delivery or weekly nearby pickup of locally raised produce, mostly or all organic, is available through several farms and businesses. Here are a few:  http://farmhousedelivery.com/home.html

http://greengatefarms.net/
http://www.jbgorganic.com/


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