Good Food Book Club

The Good Food Book Club is an avenue for Moscow Food Co-op owners and the greater Palouse community to foster civil dialogue, connection between people, and community engagement through thoughtful book club subject matter. We aim to provide an open, inviting venue to share educational and entertaining information critical to our food system and other pressing social issues. 

For detailed information on the book of the month as well as past books, please visit the Good Food Book Club section of Community News.

 

September 2019:

“The Gastronomical Me” by M.F.K. Fisher

When: Sunday, September 29, from 4 - 5:30 p.m.
Where: Location will be announced via email reminder
Email bookclub@moscowfood.coop for more info and to subscribe

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Welcome to bookend number two! Last month we read Ruth Reichl’s new memoir, “Save Me the Plums,” a direct descendant of this month’s book: M.F.K. Fisher’s classic “The Gastronomical Me” (first printed in 1943). It’s no exaggeration to say these two books effectively bookend the American food genre, at least for now.

If you haven’t heard yet of M.F.K. Fisher, consider her the ultimate matriarch of food writing, and a generative cornerstone of literature. Among the first people ever to savor and explore the great joys of food’s connection to life, through writing, “The Gastronomic Me” is considered not only a classic but foundational to the food genre. And by extension, to the blooming and diverse sub-cultures of American food across the (cutting) board. She’s also widely considered a lyric genius.

As W.H. Auden said about Fisher, “I do not know of any one in the United States who writes better prose.”

Now that we’ve read Ruth Reichl’s “Save Me the Plums,” there’s a kind of circular pleasure to tracing its roots back in time. Fisher’s work was pivotal to Reichl’s early life, then her subsequent journey as a cook, author, and editor of Gourmet Magazine. Reichl took Fisher’s books into closets with her as a child, consuming those books with the hunger of wolves. (Fisher had a book for that too, “How to Cook a Wolf.”) Never before had there been an author quite like Fisher, and Reichl felt this in the marrow of her bones. Fisher’s work changed her. And it changed things for the rest of us, too.

“The Gastronomical Me” stands as a flavorful, rich base to what comes later. It chronicles Fisher’s life from an American childhood in the 1920s eating bland, unremarkable food, to her move to France and Europe for the years leading up to the second World War. And here, we have unnerving parallels to our world, today. Fisher’s unflinching eyes bring this age to life, for the ages.  We do well to pay her heed.

Kathryn Hughes writes in her review at The Guardian:

 …Fisher proceeds from the assumption that everything and everyone she encounters in her odyssey is explicitly and graphically on the point of revealing their own ‘rotted innards’. A helpful chauffeur flips his lapel accidentally to reveal an enamel fascist party pin; the heavy drapes in a smart restaurant turn everyone’s faces mauve and mustard; while eating a delicious bouillabaisse involves ‘sucking a hundred strange dead creatures from their shells’… The war which she had seen coming in Europe had now finally arrived in America and was consuming the nation’s young men… “The Gastronomical Me” makes you shiver at its deep familiarity with death.

Please join us to discuss “The Gastronomical Me” by M.F.K. Fisher (North Point Press, 1989 Edition) on Sunday September 29 from 4:00-5:30 pm at a member’s private residence. Location and details will come in this month’s email reminder. Remember to email bookclub@moscowfood.coop to receive reminders about the Good Food Book Club.  “The Gastronomical Me” is available through your local library. If you are interested in buying the book, check out the area’s local used book stores or visit BookPeople of Moscow where Book Club members receive a discount.

 

 

October 2019:

“Wilding: Returning Nature to Our Farm by Isabella Tree

When: Sunday, October 27, from 4 - 5:30 p.m.
Where: Location will be announced via email reminder
Email bookclub@moscowfood.coop for more info and to subscribe

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Wilding” moved me to tears several times, overcome by the beauty of the rejuvenation it describes, the loss of nature it struggles against, and also by the gorgeous clarity of the writing. Wilding is a crucial, important book for everyone to read, especially in how it pushes back against foundational assumptions we all make about wilderness, nature, and how animals live. It is quite simply one of the best books I’ve ever read.

—Jeff VanderMeer, Author of Annihilation

If you are a farmer, eater of food, or otherwise human being on planet Earth at this time in history, “Wilding” will inoculate you. With actionable hope, and a fierce, beautiful lesson in re-wilding… the epic capacity of our planet to recover and restore vitality. A perfect companion to October, the time of harvest, “Wilding: Returning Nature to Our Farm” by Isabella Tree offers a much-needed crop of usable wisdom to heal the damage of our current collective systems (food, energy, culture, etc).

If you are hungry for inspiration, guidance, community, and the wisdom for how to move forward in a time of burning Amazon rainforests, unbelievable hurricane death tolls, frightening climate tipping points, and obliteration of water, species, and air
protections, this is a book for you.

Isabella Tree tells the story of her and her husband’s 3,500-acre farm and the Knepp Castle Estate in Great Britain. She describes how they’d tried to make a profit for many years, only to confront the reality of huge losses, financial and otherwise. Then, their radical decision to let the land and its creatures come home to themselves, and what happens next, which is magic. A sacred magic born of the Earth’s natural capacity to recover and restore vitality, in all the ways human beings will need as we face so much catastrophic loss and change. That magic is a long-forgotten trust and engagement in natural harmony and vitality. A trust we’ve lost in our culture’s quest to dominate.

This is a handbook for tapping natural and cultural resilience. And for changing everything.

David Suzuki, one of our world’s most trusted voices on how humans engage the Earth, writes:

Our species now occupies most of the terrestrial parts of earth and our development projects have vast ecological repercussions. In the Anthropocene, the impact has been and continues to be catastrophic because we lack the humility to recognize we are too ignorant to “manage” Nature. Isabella Tree’s uplifting story of discovering respect and trust in Nature so she can be helped to reflourish is the paradigm shift needed to begin to rewild the planet.

Please join us to discuss “Wilding: Returning Nature to Our Farm” by Isabella Tree (Random House New York Review Books 2019) on Sunday, October 27 from 4:00-5:30pm. Location and details will come in this month’s email reminder. Remember to email bookclub@moscowfood.coop to receive reminders about the Good Food Book Club. Wilding is available through your local library. If you are interested in buying the book, check out the area’s local used bookstores or visit BookPeople of Moscow where Book Club members receive a discount. For more information about the Good Food Book Club, check out the Outreach section of the Moscow Food Co-op’s website at www.moscowfood.coop