Book Reviews

I recently finished reading a few books that I thought I would mention and share a few thoughts on them.

Preserving the Harvest
I’m not even going to attempt to describe this book, I wouldn’t do it justice. Just know that if you have any interest in preserving garden goodies from the summer to eat in the winter you need to own this book. It’s going on my Christmas List so I can use it for the next 50 years.

Cutting into the meat packing line
This was an interesting sociological experiment written about a writer’s experiences when she became employed at a meat packing plant near her home to gather experience for this book. The focus on this book is Iowa centric as the writer is an Iowan who lives in Iowa and worked at a plant in Iowa. It was an interesting read as she gave history about how meat packing plants came to be, how they ended up like they are and she revealed a lot of information about how they treat their employees. She worked there for 4 months and she was one of the last few who remained in her job from her orientation group when she quit. It was sad to read how the companies treat their employees and how they abuse any system they can to make a few extra bucks. If you read this book don’t expect any big revelations about how they handle their product, because there weren’t any, but you can expect some revelations about how these companies run their businesses.

Better Off
This was a great book. I really enjoyed it. It was one of those books that I had a hard time putting down. The basic premise is that an MIT graduate student studying engineering moves to an Amish like community with his wife to experience and understand how life works without all the technologies we take for granted. He also has a goal of learning how to live a life that is low tech, so to speak. It was really just a great book to read about his thoughts on how the technology that is making our lives better is actually making them harder. He compares his previous life to his life on the farm and how he and his wife both thought they had more time now than they had before. He explores how time in the Amish like groups isn’t so rigidly divided as we consider our time now, and his experience helps him redefine what is and isn’t critical in his life, as far as technology goes. I had hoped the book would have more information about his experiences and learning steps as he learned the older methods. Even the mundane details of our lives where we are hungry and we open the fridge to get something to eat are a lot different in this world where a ready supply of food isn’t sitting around. And how do you deal with leftovers or when you have an abundance of items? He addresses those things a little but leaves them short as well. Overall I think it was a interesting read but it fell short for me from what I was hoping he would talk about, and that is how do you live in a world like that with no refrigeration or easily tapped energy source to do things when you need them done?



2 responses to “Book Reviews

  1. I don’t know how long you’ve been reading my blog or if you read old entries. I read Better Off back when I began the blog. Here’s my take on it

  2. Thanks, FGLB, for the comments on my blog. I just read some of your posts. Congrats on doing the Eat Local challenge! I don’t know much about bread-making, but the gluten content in the whole grain flour may have had something to do with the end texture. The Bread Bible is a good guide on this concept.

    Enjoyed the posts! Thanks for visiting “The Kitchen.”

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