Good Eats: 32 Writers on Eating Ethically

NYU. Jan. 2024. 376p. ed. by Jennifer Cognard-Black & Melissa A. Goldthwaite. ISBN 9781479821792. pap. $32. LIT
This sprawling essay collection is an appropriate way to present the complexity of the modern food system, with conflicting ethical principles, histories, and motivations. Divided roughly into themes, the book weaves together creative nonfiction essays from a variety of perspectives and genres. Long-form journalism sits next to poetry and short humorous takes, which helps to temper the often-dire news about modern food systems and provides useful nuance to what one may assume are straightforward decisions. There are no easy answers in these essays, but there are many lessons. Industrial agriculture offers cheap and abundant, if unethical food, and writers like Adrienne Su grapple with the difficulty of rejecting such products when they were the only ones her immigrant family could afford, forcing them to participate in perpetuating the food system’s inequity and environmental degradation. Consideration of North American Indigenous foodways in Taté Walker’s essay on the effect of colonialism on food offers some ways the world can build a more ethical food system.
VERDICT This collection will entertain and enlighten readers interested in food writing, environmental issues, and BIPOC experiences.
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