September 11, 2013
Anything That Moves by Dana Goodyear
I used to think I was an adventurous eater. Even a foodie. That is, until reading this book. After reading it, I think I'd prefer not to associate myself with the foodies. Goodyear takes a whole world of underground, raw, illegal, and just downright strange eating and brings it to light.
There are several sections in this book about different forms of food. Some focus on the people that get these hard to eat goods, like ant eggs. Others focus on using illegal product, like cannabis in their cooking. Still others focus on meats from endangered animals whose sale is illegal in the United States. And then there are a few sections on underground restaurants and the raw milk movement.
Goodyear hangs out with a lot of unscrupulous characters. Or at least she did when she wrote this book. People who think nothing of eating whale or procuring quite a lot of pot to make a themed meal. I actually don't care about the second, it's the first that gets me. If something is endangered leave it alone, it can become food when the population has been restored. There are a couple of unique characters though who get their reputation by serving dazzling food and never in the same way twice. Like the chef who runs an underground restaurant out of his apartment. Him, I found quite interesting. Everybody tended to be a bit snobby about their food choices though, and have a strict definition of what a foodie can be. Live and let eat I say (except in the case of endangered animals or unnecessary cruelty).
I felt like this book was comprised of many smaller articles. It just didn't flow naturally like a general book would. There were several interesting topics though, the biggest one for me being the subject of raw milk. It's one of the things I think should be legal everywhere with it being up to the person to determine if they want to take the risk (we can purchase soy sauce and drink it in mass quantities if we choose but it's illegal to purchase raw milk in most states and drink it. I know, crazy comparison, but think about it. It's true.). On the other side of the spectrum I was disgusted with the thought of eating endangered animals and the sheer volume that gets consumed just in CA. But all of it was descriptively written and I can appreciate that even if I didn't care for some of the topics.
I can't say I'll be in a rush to try the majority of things that were mentioned in this book. But it was an interesting look into American food culture and I learned a lot. I even learned some things I probably didn't want to know. This is definitely a book for anyone interested in food to read.
Anything That Moves