Disclosure: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Mark Bittman has compiled many of his articles from the NY Times into a new book on food in America. A Bone to Pick examines the way we, as a nation, eat and the system that brings us our food. This is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. Meaning that I consider it so important, so complex and so seemingly beyond remedy that it runs the risk of giving me angina.
But his point is that we can fix it.
And, really, that we must fix it. Harm is being done. Obesity, diabetes and heart disease is rampant and the way we eat is the cause.
So let’s do something about it, right???
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But, there’s a wrinkle. What we’re up against is so far from simple that I can’t even begin to address it in this review. You need the book for that. In A Bone to Pick, Mark Bittman deftly teases out the many strands of this knotty problem and lays them out individually for our examination. For, if we’re going into battle, we must know our enemy.
Putting healthy and affordable food on the table shouldn’t be a privilege. Finding out exactly what’s in that food, where it came from and what it cost to bring it to you shouldn’t require expertise in sleuthing and a wi-fi connection. And raising normal, healthy children shouldn’t necessitate constant battle with the unregulated marketing of sugary soft drinks and hyper-processed junk food directly to said children. Of course, we could all throw out our televisions. But that wouldn’t address the ads in our schools or the toys in our “Happy Meals.”
So, yes, it’s complicated. And, at the same time, it’s not. In my About page I talk about some changes I made to my diet, and continue to make. And even though these changes were driven largely by vanity, they’ve improved my well-being and helped me personally. They also have ripple effects that shouldn’t be underestimated. I’ve divested from Frito-Lay and invested in my local farmer’s market. If enough people commit to eating real food the money will go to the right places and the markets will change. This notion points to what I consider the heart of this excellent book. A Bone to Pick is an uneasy read made easier by Mr. Bittman’s considerable intelligence, wit and compassion. You may lose some hairs, but you’ll gain some insight. And the hairs grow back.