The Mindful Carnivore: A Vegetarian's Hunt for Sustenance

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9781605982779: The Mindful Carnivore: A Vegetarian's Hunt for Sustenance


A vegan turned hunter reignites the connection between humans and our food sources and continues the dialogue begun by Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver.


As a boy, Tovar Cerulli spent his summers fishing for trout and hunting bullfrogs. While still in high school, he began to experiment with vegetarianism. By the age of twenty he was a vegan. A decade later, in the face of declining health, he returned to omnivory and within a few years found himself headed into the woods, rifle in hand.

In this deeply personal narrative, Cerulli explores our nutritional connections with the larger-than-human world. From a fateful encounter with a brook trout to a rekindled relationship with the only hunter in his family, he traces the evolution of his dietary philosophy. Contemplating vegetable gardens, farm fields, and deer woods with intellectual and emotional candor, he stalks both food and meaning.

Cerulli’s tale brings nuance to conversations often dominated by black-and-white thinking. He sets contemporary debates in context by looking back over centuries of history, delving into our changing natural and cultural landscapes, and examining the shifting meanings of vegetarianism and hunting. In place of moral certainties, he offers questions.

Can hunters and vegetarians be motivated by similar values and instincts? In this time of intensifying concern over ecological degradation and animal welfare, how do we make peace with the fact that, even in growing organic vegetables, life is sustained by death?

At once compassionate and probing, The Mindful Carnivore invites us to reconsider what it means to eat.

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About the Author:

Tovar Cerulli has worked as a logger, carpenter, and freelance writer. In 2009, he was awarded a graduate school fellowship by the University of Massachusetts, where his research has focused on food, hunting, and human relationships with the natural world. He lives in Vermont with his wife Catherine, their Labrador retriever, and an eclectic mix of cookbooks.

Review:

Serious Eats
"As a long-time vegetarian . . . I was more than a little wary. . . Fortunately, this book retires exhausted tropes and instead presents a truly original and touching account of connecting with nature.”

Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City
"Both a personal tale of how one man comes to terms with the meat on his plate and a historical look at humanity’s connection to animals, The Mindful Carnivore delivers new insight in the too often simplistic vegetarian-versus-carnivore argument."

Sports Afield
"A gripping look at some of the central questions, both practical and philosophical, of human existence."

Casual Kitchen
“One of the most unusual and intriguing books I’ve ever read. . . . Thought-provoking, educational, subtle, and agenda-free.”

New Mexico Wildlife
"This groundbreaking book has enormous potential to create a dialogue with differing groups."

Publishers Weekly
"A touching and thought-provoking exploration of not only what we eat but how we eat it."

Hank Shaw, author of Hunt, Gather, Cook
"Cerulli offers penetrating insights into not only where our food comes from, but what our daily dietary choices say about who we are as human beings."

Nicolette Hahn Niman, author of Righteous Porkchop
"Elegantly written, thoughtful, intensely personal yet universal, Tovar Cerulli’s The Mindful Carnivore is destined to become a classic."

Betty Fussell, author of The Story of Corn and Raising Steaks
"Bull’s-eye! Cerulli cuts through forests of argument with a thoughtful and thrilling narrative. We experience his growing awareness of what it means to be fully involved in the web of nature. With him we can wonder at its complex mystery and share in ‘mindful eating’ as a sacred act."

Jan E. Dizard, author of Mortal Stakes and Going Wild
"A remarkably candid, nuanced, and engaging meditation on what it means to be human. The Mindful Carnivore is a bracing read."

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