“There is a universality to food that makes it easily accessible to the reader, and a long tradition of sensuality related to the subject. As newborns we first experience the world through two senses — taste and smell. That means that our emotional response to a taste or a smell can act upon us at a very powerful, subconscious level.”
But no movie in the genre portrays food as lovingly as Dinner Rush, a story about a New York City restaurateur/bookmaker trying to protect his properties against rival gangsters. In truth, the film focuses more on the cuisine than the crimes. But don’t underestimate it; Dinner Rush is a solid mob movie.
Shocking and heartbreaking, Food, Inc. gives us those nitty-gritty details of how a tomato is grown or how a chicken is raised. It reveals that every step of the process from farm to factory to functional product is not as scrupulously regulated as government organizations like the USDA and the FDA would have you believe. According to Pollan, “the industrial food system is always looking for greater efficiency. But each new step in efficiency leads to problems.”
If we are what we eat, then Marcella Hazan, the author of what are often recognized as the best six Italian cookbooks ever published in English, has been writing her autobiography since 1973. That is the year when The Classic Italian Cookbook, her first effort, saw the light of day. Thirty-five years later, with increasingly sophisticated recipe books, restaurants and food industries in the United States, it is hard to remember how groundbreaking Hazan’s work has been.
“So the bigger conclusion is that we have soaked our landscape in toxic chemicals, many of which can interact to form even more toxic compounds, and there is absolutely no regulation or testing of this mixing. Most beekeepers and researchers I’ve spoken with believe pesticides are one factor, working in conjunction with introduced parasites, viruses, bacteria, and fungi, and quite possibly with deteriorating living conditions for bees. Bees could handle one or two of these stressors, but not all of them.”
“I know food is hot right now – we have the Food Network – but believe me, in Western civilization we have never elevated cuisine historically to the level of art, to which it’s been elevated in China. But through learning about Chinese food, and through her encounters with this man and his family, and his effort to compete in an Olympics of cuisine, in the 2008 games, she learns about life.”