Eating Well, Eating Responsibly, and Eating Meat
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A loosely organized, lively and challenging collection of observations, ideas, philosophical meanderings and ethical concerns related to the meat we put on our plates.

Along with former High Times editor Edison (Dirty! Dirty! Dirty!: Of Playboys, Pigs, and Penthouse Paupers—An American Tale of Sex and Wonder, 2011, etc.), Martins takes a scattershot approach to the discussion, dividing the book into 50 short chapters that cut a wide swath, covering everything from slow food principles to the inhumane treatment of animals on factory farms to how to build a slaughterhouse and the importance of biodiversity and rare heritage breeds. Martins uses the word têtoir for cultures and communities that hand down food traditions, creating distinctive flavors much in the way terroir gives wine its distinct characteristics. Martins, who founded Slow Food USA, now runs Heritage Foods USA, a purveyor of meats from farmers who humanely raise rare or heritage breeds without antibiotics or hormones. His free-ranging thought process, at times distracting, always comes back to slow food basics: “…sourcing responsibly, recognizing the farmer’s work and understanding exactly what we are eating and where it comes from.” For example, a dirt-scratching Narragansett turkey that freely roamed the barnyard will have a different taste than one raised in a windowless barn under bright lights, its beak and toenails removed, unable to stand due to its inordinately large breasts. Consumers may abhor such treatment, but are they ready to pay $140 for “a robust, healthy animal that lived a great life?” Martins recognizes that the economic realities of big agriculture vs. independent farmers, distributors and purveyors are the biggest obstacles to his manifesto, but he remains optimistic that consumer demand may eventually bring changes to the supply chain. It begins with getting to know the farmers, butchers and green grocers who bring food to our tables; it’s about “provenance.”

A passionate call for “responsible meat-eating” and what that means, as well as an explanation of the small steps required for accomplishing it.

Pub Date: June 10th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-316-25624-7
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2014


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