Top | Reviews

Grub

(article, Caroline Cummins)

With all the nods to their trailblazing ancestors — Anna Lappé's vegetarian-guru mom and bioethicist dad, Bryant Terry's self-sufficient farmer grandparents — Grub feels a bit like Food Politics: The Next Generation. 

Hey, kids! Did you know that corporations don't care about your health, just your wallet? Had you realized that you could be a chef in your own kitchen? And isn't it cool to have a dinner party with a hip soundtrack and some performance poetry? 

Both Lappé and Terry are noted food activists; Lappé helps run the Massachusetts-based Small Planet Institute and Terry is the founder of b-healthy!, a food-justice nonprofit in New York. Grub is their joint endeavor in food awareness.

Actually, Grub is two books in one. The first half belongs to Lappé and her dogged research into the labyrinth of our modern food system, beginning with the Six Illusions (that our food is diverse, safe and clean, efficient, cheap, fair, and progressive) and concluding with explanations of advertising, organic certification, and ways to shop, save, and support food reform.

The second half belongs to Terry, who starts out by demanding that we dispense with "food dogmatism" (i.e., adhering to any one particular diet) and stating, forthrightly, that "food should move us to a better place." What follows are several theme menus (Simply Macrobiotic, New Millennium Soul Food) that have a quirky dogma of their own: whole grains plumped with the occasional fish and liberally sprinkled with activism disguised as partying. 

[[block(sidebar).

h1. Featured recipes




]]

Need to justify the funky title of Likkle Chile-Roasted Plantains? Get it all figured out with the Bonus Film Suggestion, "Life and Debt," a 2001 documentary about the economic disaster known as Jamaica. Feel like a breather while wrapping up the rest of the Ital Grub menu? Pause over the suggested Food for Thought: "Economic globalization has resulted in the decline of the banana and sugar industries in most Caribbean countries."

Dinner chez Lappé and Terry is never just dinner. And Grub isn't just a cookbook; it's a manifesto urging awareness in shopping, cooking, and eating. (The book's dark-green print, while eco-pretty, makes it a bit hard to read, while its large format makes it more likely to end up on the coffee table than the nightstand.) Buried at the back is an excellent list of "Resources for Action," and the entire book is assiduously footnoted. Sure, you may cook those Likkle Plantains, but you'll be thinking about where they came from, how they were grown, and what it all means to you the whole time.

p(bio). [caroline@culinate.com "Caroline Cummins"] is the managing editor of Culinate.


reference-image, l