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(article, Caroline Cummins)
One of only two major biographies of Beard (Evan Jones wrote the other), Clark’s book delineates both its pear-shaped protagonist and the changing food values of Beard’s long life (nearly 82 years). Clark shows how Beard’s enduring preference for regional foods grew out of his Oregon childhood, and how Beard’s jovial, hearty persona created an audience for straightforward food that even macho guys could make at home. Beard lived to see the fibrous “domestic science” cooking movement of his youth fade in favor of his own brand of laissez-faire sensualism. Beard may have worked too hard and consumed too much, but his values — buy it fresh and local, cook it simply and lovingly — are still with us today. p(bio). Caroline Cummins is the managing editor of Culinate.