Springer Mountain: Meditations on Killing and Eating

Univ. of North Carolina. Sept. 2021. 128p. ISBN 9781469665481. pap. $19. SOC SCI
This collection of essays, spanning investigative reporting, travelogue, and personal anecdote, takes a journalistic view of meat, from farm to plate. Using his extensive research and firsthand visits to farms and slaughterhouses, Williams (a former restaurant critic and finalist for the James Beard Foundation MFK Fisher Award) creates a narrative of the culture, history, and societal views of meat, from factory farming to game hunting. His research included various hands-on experiences, from working on a chicken farm and at a slaughterhouse, to learning how to hunt his own game. He also travels to Alaska to learn about whaling and talks to Alaskan Natives about its importance. Along the way, he offers personal insight from his years as a restaurant critic and food writer. In contemplating how and why people kill animals, Williams does not aim to horrify his readers; rather, he asks us to consider the history of the food we consume.
VERDICT Similar to Michael Pollen’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, this engaging narrative will catch readers’ attention and lead them to take a deeper look at the where, how, and why behind the food they consume. In addition to foodies and historians, this book will appeal to readers wanting a better understanding of cultures and societies surrounding food.
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