Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"The Way We Eat"

I became a vegetarian in the stacks of the Forsyth County's main public library. There, reading such books as Cleveland Amory's Support Your Right to Arm Bears and Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation, I became aware of some of the horrors systematically inflicted on animals by humans and knew that I wanted no part of them.

That was more than 25 years ago. But last week I was back at the library, and came across a newer book, co-written by Singer and Jim Mason. This book - The Way We Eat, subtitled Why Our Food Choices Matter – was published last year and made something of a stir then. You can read a review of it from Vegan Outreach, which includes links to interviews with Singer in Mother Jones, Salon and on

I hadn’t come across the book until now, and I’m glad I finally did. It looks at the ethical issues surrounding food by looking at the eating patterns of three families – one that eats the "Standard American Diet," "conscientious omnivores," and vegans – and how they affect animals, the environment and other people.

The Way We Eat clearly lays out the continuing horrors of animal agriculture. But it also examines the ethical implications of such things as organic and locally produced food, and “Fair Trade” foods. There are many factors to consider, and the most ethical path is not always clear. But Singer and Mason do offer some simple guiding principles.

Their book provides a lot of food for thought, along with fascinating information. Best of all, it is ultimately hopeful to believe that people can make a difference in the world through their food choices.

Have you read any books lately that have made a difference in how you think about your food? If so, I'd love to hear about them.


At 6/28/2007 3:52 PM, Anonymous Follower said...

Oddly, the name of The Way We Eat has been changed in its paperback printing to The Ethics of What We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter. Something that it took me a moment to realize in Borders today.

I also really enjoyed The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan (due in paperback August 28). Kind of like a kindler, gentler Fast Food Nation.


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