A celebration of food and culture with a social conscience, in the tradition of M. F. K. Fischer and Frances Moore Lappe.We really are what we eat. Eating close to home is not just a matter of convenience it is an act of deep cultural, emotional, and environmental significance. Gary Nabhan's experience with food permeates his life as a third-generation Lebanese American (with Irish and Lithuanian mixed in), as an avid gardener and subsistence hunter, as an ethnobotanist preserving seed diversity, and as an activist devoted to recovering native food traditions to promote the health of Native Americans in the Southwest. To rediscover what it might mean to "think globally, eat locally," he spent a year trying to eat only foods grown, fished, or caught 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 human relation to the foods that truly nourish us, affirming our bonds to family, community, landscape, and season. 15 b/w illustrations, 1 map
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Does it matter where our food comes from? Do we, our communities, and the planet do better if we choose food grown by local sources we trust? Exploring these and other questions of dietary and spiritual subsistence, Gary Paul Nabhan's Coming Home to Eat presents a compelling case for eating from our "foodshed."
Nabhan, a subsistence hunter, ethnobiologist, and activist devoted to recovering lost food traditions, gave himself a task: to spend a year trying to eat foods grown, fished, or gathered within 250 miles of his Arizona home. His book, both personal document and political screed, details this experiment from the moment Nabhan purges his kitchen of canned and other processed foods ("If this year could resolve anything for me, perhaps it would rid me of the desire to ever again buy any packaged food that boasted of its homemade flavor....") to a final food-gathering pilgrimage. That journey underscores Nabhan's conviction that we have too easily believed "the vacuous nutritional promises of the industrialized food that has sold our health down the river." In fact, the book encompasses an ongoing pilgrimage, during which Nabhan explores, for example, the near loss of saguaro cactus fruit as a dietary staple due to saguaro's use for "local color" in shopping malls, golf courses, and retirement centers. Readers, converted, skeptical, or just curious, will find Nabhan's book a source of many simple and stirring truths. "Until we stop craving to be somewhere else and someone else other than the animals whose very cells are constituted from the place on earth we love the most," he writes, "then there is little reason to care about the fate of native foods, family farms, or healthy landscapes and communities." But care we must, as the book shows so enlighteningly. --Arthur BoehmAbout 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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