Putting Meat in the Middle
of the Plate of our Public Discourse.
A Review of
Jonathan Safran Foer.
Paperback: Back Bay Books, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]
Reviewed by Melody Harrison Hanson.
[Editor’s Note: Although this book is older than most we review, I decided to run this review given the combination of the author’s heralded appearance at the recent Festival of Faith and Writing and the vast interest of our readers in food issues. ]
“99% of the meat sold in the United States today comes from a factory farm.”
In the 1970s, my missionary parents uprooted us from the barefoot paradise of Papua New Guinea and planted us in Southern California. My mother, suffering a bizarre set of health issues, began looking for answers in healthy eating practices. While other kids ate Twinkies and Ding Dongs, Mother read Adelle Davis books on nutrition and force-fed us cod liver oil.
Perhaps because of this, my need to fit in urged me to become a steak-loving “normal “person. Food, for me, was always more than mere sustenance; it was a visceral, beautiful, even creative thing. But as far being a political statement or a critical health issue, well that was strictly for the weirdoes.
Reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals was the first time that I seriously considered that the Chicken Parmesan in front of me or the meat neatly stacked in my refrigerator was once a living thing. And confronted by the horrors of modern animal farming, as recounted in shocking detail by Foer, I had to face certain facts: factory farms are disgusting and dangerous for our health.