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What We're Reading
This is an astonishing, fact-filled book. Jo Robinson brings together information from many diverse sources: History, nutritional facts, farming information, how to source difficult-to-find foods. She arranges the chapters into interesting descriptions of how a food evolved under civilization, along with juicy anecdotes of history, then, at the end of each chapter, she provides tables of which varieties offer which advantages and then where one can find them. Robinson has gleaned information from more than a thousand research journals published in the United States and abroad. She is an author or co-author to over a dozen books and is a Washingtonian.

For example, did you know that if you slice, chop or press garlic, then let it rest for ten minutes before cooking, it boosts its ability to fight cancer and cardiovascular disease by mixing two elements found in separate areas of each clove? Tearing romaine lettuce the day before you eat it doubles its antioxidant content. Cooked carrots have twice as much beta-carotene as raw carrots. Red cherry tomatoes have up to twelve times more lycopene than red beefsteak tomatoes. Ounce per ounce, there is more fiber in raspberries than in bran cereals. Canned artichoke hearts are among the most nutritious vegetables in the supermarket.

This book is available through North Central Regional Library sytem.
Eating on the Wild Side
by Jo Robinson
Renewing America's Food Traditions edited by Gary Paul Nabhan
This interesting read is published by Chelsea Green Publishing out of Vermont, a publisher that specializes in "green" publications. The book covers regions of the United States from a perspective of savoring the continent's most endangered foods. That is an interesting premise, and, even if they don't focus on eastern Washington, their philosophy of renewing our appreciation of traditional foods is very compelling. It is up to us in the dry land side of the Pacific Northwest to bring forth our traditional foods. In Slow Food USA this is called a Presidia and we could well be thinking about which foods of our region we would like to bring forth and submit to the altar of preservation in contemporary appreciation.

Recipes as well as plants and animals can be historical and place-based. Could it be that backward is the new forward in the food world? Stranger things have happened.

When the RAFT partners first met, the acronym stood for Rescuing America's Food Traditions. Eventually, the word Renewing was utilized, as it implies more energy and life - the idea that these unique foods, so nearly forgotten, might well be made new again. RAFT gives us a great food adventure to embark on - no less than discovering ourselves through foods that we didn't realize were ours. RAFT is a consortium organized through Slow Food USA with the goal of documenting and restoring America's agricultural biodiversity.

Diversity in our agriculture and cuisine is not only valuable in its own right, but promotes healthy ecological relationships, sustainable agriculture, food security, cultural diversity and traditional knowledge, as well as improved nutrition and health.

The founders of RAFT are American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, Center for Sustainable Environments, Chefs Collaborative, Cultural Conservancy, Native Seeds/SEARCH, Seed Savers Exchange, and Slow Food USA.

Ch 11/24/2013
Psst...the snail will take you home
Do you love wine, coffee, oysters and chocolate? Then this is the book for you! Rowan Jacobsen highlights the production, harvest and tasting notes of each featured food. Some things I learned:

-coffee roasters often disguise poor quality coffee beans with a dark roast
- light roast coffee's taste improves with cooling, which makes it perfect for iced coffee
- commercial wine production has a lot in common with industrial.... Everything!
- chocolate is a fermented food

This book will nourish your inner foodie! There's also a great chapter featuring Yakima Valley apples. Recipes accompany each topic.

Enjoy it, and let us know what you think on our Slow Food Okanogan Facebook page!

American Terroir: "Savoring the Flavors, Woods, Waters and Fields" by Rowan Jacobsen