Tag

book review

Browsing

Book Review: Defending Beef; The Case for Sustainable Meat Production

source
source

Should We Really Be Defending Beef?

by Maeve McInnis

While I thoroughly enjoyed and agreed with much of the contents of Defending Beef; The Case for Sustainable Meat Production, in the back of my mind there was the niggling thought that the author, Nicolette Hahn Niman, is married to Bill Niman—the owner of Niman Ranch, which is highly revered for its quality grass fed beef. This fact alone calls in to question her credibility and argument because it raises the question of her motive. She does, of course, address this obvious conflict by stating that she is a vegetarian and a lifelong environmentalist. These points do assuage my fears somewhat—I am also a vegetarian and environmentalist—however, it stills leaves traces of distrust as she is directly promoting her husband’s business regardless of whether her motives are pure.

Irrespective of my general suspicions, I thought this book had a solid argument. It was loaded with statistics and technical information yet written in colloquial language for an easy read, especially for people who are interested in this ongoing debate yet aren’t looking for a highly academic and scientific read but want the nitty gritty details of the argument. She breaks the book down into three distinct categories; Cattle: Environment and Culture, Beef: Food & Health, and Critique & Final Analysis.

I couldn’t agree more with the argument she makes in the first chapter that we need to change our industrial form of food production to a more ethical, holistic approach. One which does not separate a symbiotic ecosystem into separate systems thus creating un-manageable environmental and health problems. She discusses how we’ve taken animal husbandry off the family farm where the animal manure was the ecosystem’s fertilizer onto large-scale factory farms that now have ponds full of toxic liquid manure.

In this first section, she also discusses the impact cattle have on the environment. She bravely contests the popularly held believe voiced by many environmentalist that beef is detrimental to the environment, stating that what it really comes down to is properly managed cattle. She is against cutting down vast untouched areas to increase our cattle production. Instead, she suggests that society can use swaths of land that are arid and unsuitable for crops as grassing areas for these animals.

She relies heavily on the workings of a soil management guru, Allan Savory, who has had great success using cattle to improve the health of environment. He argues that certain geographical locations that we consider ‘healthy’ actually aren’t at all and need large animals to regenerate the soil.

In the second portion of the book, she moves on to discuss the human health effects of grass fed beef arguing that this type of beef, hormone and antibiotic free, is good for us as it has protein that you can’t get in any other type of food. This again raises the issue of her being a vegetarian; I would like to know whether she thinks that she would be healthier if she ate meat and why it is that she hasn’t gone back to eating meat when she argues that it is good for one’s health. Is that not the cardinal rule? Practice what you preach?

The final section ends with a general analysis and critique of the other arguments out there against meat. Returning once more to my underlying suspicions, as stated she cited a ton of studies but did not clearly discuss who funded the studies, which is a crucial aspect of transparency since the source of funding will have an impact on the outcome of the study

How does one know who to trust on what is good for our health? Her argument intuitively makes sense: that otherwise unused plots of land not suitable for food cultivation be used for well-managed cattle rearing because they improve the soil with their manure. She argues that not only is this way of managing cattle healthy for the environment, but that beef is healthy for human beings to eat. There are also many arguments against fully against eating meat, even grass fed ethically raised animals such as cows. As a health conscious person who has been raised vegetarian and eating organic food, I find it difficult to choose a side of this argument. I find myself, despite my above mentioned suspicions, drawn to the argument she lays down because it makes sense to me. It also helps that she is vegetarian and a lifelong environmental activist. Another point of her argument that hits home with me is that she is thinking in terms of the whole ecosystem’s health (inclusive of humanity’s health) which to me is crucial. We can’t remove pieces of the puzzle and attempt to solve it that way. Today’s conundrum of climate change and population growth requires this whole systems approach. But once again, how does one reconcile these opposing views with such legitimate numbers to back up their arguments?


Headshot

Maeve McInnis just graduate with her Masters of Science in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management with a specialization in Food Policy from the Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at the New School. She was the President of the Sustainable Cities Club and a member of the Student Advisory Committee with the Dean. She is an avid traveler and lover of food, culture and social justice. 

Book Review: The GMO Deception

source
source

The GMO Deception: A Review

by Maeve McInnis

Do we want to live in a world where all of our food has been at one point genetically altered, where synthetic chemicals are sprayed on our food, and the corporations have complete control over all aspects of our food? Or, would we like to buy vegetables from our local farmer with the knowledge that the genetic makeup of the food is pure, that it has no synthetic chemicals in it, and where we have the freedom to choose GMO or non-GMO food products?

The intention of The GMO Deception: What You Need to Know about the Food, Corporations, and Government Agencies Putting Our Families and Our Environment at Risk, a volume comprised of articles originally published in GeneWatch edited by Sheldon Krimsky and Jeremy Gruber, is to start a larger public dialogue on what they refer to as the deception of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). For anyone who has limited knowledge of the GMO situation in our society the Merriam Webster dictionary defines GMOs as manipulated, or altered organisms to contain specific desired traits not naturally occurring in that organism. The GMO Deception spans topics such as the health and safety of GMOs, labeling, ethics and their environmental impacts, along with other social aspects of the GMO debate. The article ‘Busting the Big GMO Myth’s’ by John Fagan, Michael Antoniou and Claire Robinson did exactly as the title states. “…GMOs could be allergenic. Similarly the toxicity of certain GMOs and the reduced nutritional value of other GMOs have been scientifically demonstrated…More and more evidence is accumulating, showing that GMOs can be harmful to health and the environment.” The article titled ‘Changing Seeds or Seeds of Change?’ By Natalie DeGraaf discusses how “[f]armers in rural India have noted instances of animals dying from grazing on GM crops and new reports are investigating the relationship between increased allergy prevalence and GM foods as well as transference of antibiotic resistance to consumers.” With these alarming reviews of the health concerns of GMO’s from the scientific community, one wonders if this is the sort of technology the global society should rely on to feed its population.

Around the world, from the Government Office for Science in the U.K. to the National Research Council in the United States to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N., there is consensus: In order to address the roots of hunger today and build a food system that will feed humanity into the future, we must invest in “sustainable intensification”—not expensive GMO technology that threatens biodiversity, has never proven its superiority, even in yields, and locks us into dependence on fossil fuels, fossil water, and agrochemicals. (Grist, 2011)

The popularly held belief that GMOs will help feed a growing population, while highly contested in this book, also begs the question at what cost to our individual’s health and the health of the environment. Again Natalie DeGraaf addresses these health concerns by citing a “severe lack of unbiased research being conducted external to the reports issued by GM company laboratories.”  ‘Busting the Big GMO Myths’ by John Fagan, Michael Antoniou, and Claire Robinson quotes Oliver De Schutter, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, “yields went up 214 percent in forty four projects in twenty countries in sub-Saharan Africa using agro-ecological farming techniques…far more improvement than any GM crop has ever done.”

The editors Sheldon Krimsky and Jeremy Gruber, choose articles that exhibit how large agro companies such as Monsanto hide behind the intellectual property rights laws to keep impartial studies regarding their GMO products behind locked doors. The over-arching theme that unifies each of these pieces: how can a conscious consumer blindly take a company’s word on the safety of a product when the company’s goal is to sell you the product in question?

The GMO Deception’s argument is clear: unless the public takes a stronger stance on this issue, we may have no choice in the matter. It presents well-rounded, researched articles on the issues surrounding GMOs and why society must question their use in food products. “We have literally hundreds of commentaries that bear witness to the deceptions associated with the promoters of GMOs.” It offers arguments and insights into the realm of GMOs that are hard to attain due to corporations’ strangle hold on their intellectual property rights.

While full of insightful material on the subject matter, this book was not a page turner. It consists of short, individual articles by varying authors that, while interesting, did not lure me in enough to make the rest of the world stop in its tracks. It was more of the type of book that one would read a few chapters of and then put it away to thoroughly digest the material before reading on. Each author had such different writing styles that it was difficult to get into a steady rhythm. The articles are fairly academic in content. Therefore if the intention was to spark a wider discussion among the general public the information may fail to reach that audience. I also would have like to have more explanation of why these particular articles were chosen for each separate section of the book. Some of them were written back in the 1980s and, while important in the discussion, it would have helped to outline why they thought each of the articles were worth having in the book because often there was significant overlap in the general information.

Having grown up in a strictly organic and vegetarian household, my stance on GMOs is pretty clear cut. I want them to have absolutely no part in any aspect of my food. For most of my life this has been based on an intuitive hunch that no part of my food should ever set foot in a lab. Now, having read The GMO Deception, I take further comfort in my stance and feel content in backing up my choices with the science discussed in the book. I would recommend this book to anyone with a curiosity about GMOs. Its inaccessibility is worth penetrating for the information therein—just don’t expect to consume the information all at one time.


HeadshotMaeve McInnis is currently pursuing her Masters of Science in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management with a specialization in Food Policy at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at the New School. She is the President of the Sustainable Cities Club and a member of the Student Advisory Committee with the Dean. She is an avid traveler and lover of food, culture and social justice. 

Book Review: Fashioning Appetite

source
source

Fashioning Appetite: A Review

by Samantha Felix

In the three years my husband and I have owned and operated a small neighborhood restaurant in the East Village of New York, I have found that the single most important thing I can do to ensure our success is to properly train the front of house staff. But shouldn’t the food be the most important aspect of a restaurant? Well, yes. The food needs to be good, if not great, but the experience is what keeps people coming back. It is the job of the front of house staff to make sure diners leave not only pleased with the food, but pleased with themselves.

Joanne Finkelstein’s latest work, Fashioning Appetite: Restaurants and the Making of Modern Identity, seeks to understand this contradictory restaurant phenomenon through a study of the origins of restaurants and restaurant patronage. Finkelstein reveals society’s public/private relationship with eating establishments and the surprising role these establishments play in defining Western identity.

Within this framework, I like to think of the dining room as a stage. The service staff is the stage crew. And, the diners are our unpredictable cast of characters. It is our job to finely tune the restaurant atmosphere to allow diners to perform their private desires in a public setting. “The restaurant engineers circumstances,” explains Finkelstein. A statement that could not be more true. Even in a small neighborhood restaurant like ours, staging this intricate performance is integral to our success.

Finkelstein draws the reader into a world where restaurants are more than just the brick and mortar houses of food: she sees them through a social scientist’s lens. She wants to know why society is so attached to participating in this public display of private moments. In other words, how and why do restaurants “bring strangers together to pursue their own private desires”?

Everything from birthdays to engagements to funerals are acted out in front of a room of complete strangers. Diners are willingly manipulated by the orchestrated world of the restaurant, because, Finkelstein says, the act of eating out has been redefined as a form of “consumable entertainment.”

Finkelstein covers a lot of area in this book from history to obesity to social norms. In terms of both the breadth of information and the complicated sociological terminology, the book can at times be daunting, even to those of us who live and breathe the restaurant industry. But, Fashioning Appetite reminds us how intricately laced our happiness as diners is to the success of a restaurant. “The private and public are inseparable, and the personal pursuit of pleasure, as in dining out, regulates broader ideals of personal pleasure, happiness, a sense of virtue and success.” In other words, as consumers we have fetishized what it means to dine out to the extent that in order to be pleased with our evening and, frankly, ourselves, our restaurant experience needs to be stellar. Not just good, but exceptional.

As a restaurant owner, I can vouch that we willingly participate in this game too. Our identity and livelihood is dependent on our customers’ enjoyment, and we will do just about anything to make sure they have a great time. While gazing out over a dark dining room, packed with expectant faces and grumbling stomachs we take on the responsibility of confirming everyone’s happiness. There is a special pleasure in watching a patron depart drunk, happy, and full—but there is also the inevitable bad experience that leaves both restaurant and guest deeply unsatisfied and with a little less money in their pocket.

By applying new research on emotional capitalism to popular culture’s collective understanding of the dining-out experience, Finkelstein believes we have crafted a socio-economic understanding of restaurants by assigning meaning to each bite and sip consumed. We have essentially “aestheticized food” and molded it into a source of understood “entertainment and novelty.”

This original and inventive interpretation of how modern Western cultures experience restaurants gives a balanced description of society’s pursuit of collective experience through food. The prose is at times dense and a challenge to decode, but it is worth the work. Deep within these pages is a thoughtful and important narrative about the journey society has taken over the centuries to create a shared identity, and how food has delightfully punctuated that journey through moments of public solitude and entertainment.


 

Sam PhotoSamantha Felix is a freelance writer and the community editor for Substance.com. Her work has appeared on Huffington Post, Alternet, and Business Insider among others. She is currently pursuing an MFA in fiction at The New School. 

Unpretentious Food Writing Is the New Outsider Art

It’s hard to read Grand Forks: A History of Dining in 128 Reviews and not see work that is, frankly, outside (or at least distant from) of the established conventions for food writing. Although she’s been writing since the late 1950s, Hagerty’s thoughts on the various eating establishments of Grand Forks, North Dakota were only noticed after her review of a new Olive Garden in her hometown went viral, and set off a firestorm of snark across the web.

Click here to read more on Flavorwire.com.

cial is discount

Book Review: Offal — A Global History, by Nina Edwards

Nicole Brownstein

As a vegetarian, owning a book about edible entrails may seem unusual, but nonetheless, Nina Edwards’ Offal – a Global History rests conspicuously on my bookshelf. This book is hardly a tome at 108 pages, yet it manages to give a very comprehensive history of one of the world’s more controversial cuisines.

The book begins with the definition of the word offal.  Rhyming with awful, it’s classified by Edwards as “organ or variety meat, entrails or viscera, innards and extremities…it can be brazenly meaty or subtle and refined. Consumed all over the world, it exists both as a staple food and sought-after delicacy”.  In regards to pronunciation, Edwards says, “it could be said to make a seductive shape in the mouth: the open vowel; the gentler sound of the ‘ff’; the pleasing closure of the ‘l’”. I feel I need a cigarette after sounding that out loud.

But this sexy definition is where the author stops complimenting offal and starts assuming that the readers are, despite their interest in the topic, actually disgusted by the very idea. Westerners, especially Americans, are the “least enthusiastic” consumers of offal. In modern American culture, lovers of offal are apparently a very special breed of people with “rural roots”. After reading that, I wondered if I should tell my Brooklyn-born grandmother that her appreciation of tongue and chopped liver could be attributed to her country lifestyle. I think she’d laugh at me and would go back to playing canasta on her iPad.

On the other hand, the religious ties to offal are strong and may be why it sits so conspicuously at the same grandmother’s Passover seder every year. Offal is prominently featured in the diet of many religions: it was a gift to clergymen, a staple for both Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews, and on the table at the Muslim Eid feast.

On the flip side of the table, Edwards claims the other big offal eaters are those who feel a strong need to assert their masculinity by eating so-called disgusting things. In the 1980s, Regional Testicle Festivals began popping up in the United States, but sadly this is as far as Edwards goes in describing these festivals.

This lack of elaboration is a trend in this book, which is Offal’s biggest drawback. One sentence about impregnating a cow just to slaughter it when its udders swell is not enough. And learning that Liberian culture suggests there is value in sacrificing a child and eating its brain for strength is not sufficient either.  Why touch upon these juicy anecdotes without getting to the meat of the issues?

The main point of the book seems to be the food’s social balance between the highbrow and low brow—simultaneously regarded as a delicacy for the very wealthy and respected, as well as the caloric grist for the ultra-poor. I think this book should have been marketed more as a comment on the edible class system (using offal as an example) and less as a comprehensive history. At the same time, I would definitely read a sequel solely on the various pseudonyms people have given offal, like prairie oysters or headcheese. Even sweetbread is an interesting twist on inner organs.

So, would I recommend this book? Yes, but with a pinch of salt. And also probably with a brown paper bag, if you’re queasy.

Nicole Brownstein is a Milano Urban Policy and Management student with a passion for food. When not in school, she works as an Education and Farm apprentice at the Battery Urban Farm and is constantly found with dirt on her knees and radishes in her pockets.

Book Review: The Fish Store – Lindsey Bareham

The first edition of Fish Store was published in 2006, not so long ago in years but in a different food world. Then it wasn’t always easy to get a book contract, even with the right contacts. One had to be good. Today it seems any blogger with a minimal grasp of cooking, but a few thousand followers, can blag a book deal from publishers increasingly grabbing wildly at passing trends in a landscape no longer comfortably mapped out for them.

Click here to read more on Foodepedia.

Our Relationship with Food

Book Review: The Cassoulet Saved our Marriage: True Tales of Food, Family & How We Learn to Eat

By Caroline M. Grant & Lisa Catherine Harper
Publisher: Roost Books
Released March 2013

By Larissa Zimberoff 15797796

There are books of essays that are meant to be picked up and put down, up and down, slowly turning the pages and taking time to stop along the way. Then there are others that are the exact opposite, where you’ll want to keep reading late into the night, when you really should be asleep.  The Cassoulet Saved our Marriage: True Tales of Food, Family & How We Learn to Eat, a new book from Roost Books, is wonderfully in the second category. The bright pink cover, featuring a line-art drawing of a steaming pot with curly-cue swirls floating upwards, beckoned me like a favorite dish. I couldn’t wait to open it up.

The collection of essays, sourced by “Learning to Eat” blog authors Caroline M. Grant & Lisa Catherine Harper, is a balanced mix of names I recognized and those I had yet to know. Gleaning the histories of these writers made me feel as if I were standing in their kitchens, leaning against the counters with a glass of wine in my hand as I nodded my head along in an I-know-exactly-what-you-mean way.

The essays are grouped into three sections: Food, Family and Learning to Eat. In “Food” there are stories of  ties to one’s culinary past. In an essay by Sarah Shey, we travel from the memories of her mother cooking on a farm in Iowa, to the present-day where Shey does the improbable: she cooks for the Polish construction workers outside her apartment in Brooklyn, savoring the joy when they return with an empty plate. Keith Blanchard writes of his painful junk food addiction, which left him with a smile littered with cavities, “a double-strand necklace of silver and gold beads draped over a few remaining stalactites and stalagmites of original tooth enamel.” It made me recall those crinkly candy wrappers, hidden and stuffed in my own pockets. The section closes with an essay by Phyllis Grant with prose alive in its urgency: I wanted to be her, I wanted to be the asparagus tips she was cooking, and the poached egg she’d just speared with a fork.

In “Family” we find the eponymously titled essay of the collection—a series of letters between a husband and wife. There was clearly an argument, a stalemate of sorts, but we’re not let in to that part of the drama. Instead we learn of their annual cassoulet parties and what they mean to each partner. The most affecting of the essays is by Karen Valby, who writes of going hungry as a teenager, and of the envious pain she felt in the cafeteria every day at lunch. She writes: “If I want your food, I want more than your lunch. I want your life.” When I read that line I had to stop. This vulnerable essay of need and want will make you look at food, and hunger, in an entirely different way.

The book closes with a set of essays about “Learning to Eat,” many of which center around how we pass down our history of food to our children. New York Times writer Jeff Gordinier writes of wanting his son and daughter to eat foie gras, not for the thing itself but for what it signifies: the desire to try new experiences. Gregory Dicum, a mostly-vegan vegan, writes of feeding his new son things he does not eat, and the personal dilemma of watching his ideas of food evolve along with his son’s growth. And Edward Levine writes of anxiety in an age of over-cautious, over-educated, danger-averse parents––PTA parents like himself––who become embroiled in email threads in a “throbbing symphony of food angst.”

I liked reading the essays and, in the back of my mind, wondering what recipe the author would select to share. I didn’t necessarily want to make any of them. But as my eyes scanned the details I thought about where each had come from, feeling the nostalgia from just a few pages back, and I quickly stirred up the ingredients, making the whole thing virtually in my mind.

The Cassoulet Saved our Marriage makes you feel like you’re in your favorite restaurant, the one with the black-and-white checked tablecloths, narrow tables, mirrors reflecting the room, waiters who know your name, and a seasonal menu that includes an ingredient you don’t know yet. It’s not a book I need to read again, but it certainly begs to be shared. These days, when everything is documented digitally or featured on television in 30-minute battles, is there anything better than reading a good story?

Larissa Zimberoff is a freelance writer living in Manhattan. She has an MFA from The New School. Her writing has appeared in Salon, Untapped Cities and The Rumpus.

Cooked: A New Book by Michael Pollen

Pollan’s best-selling “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” while a tour de force and special variety of eater’s manifesto, was at the same time more politics and peril than a soul-feeding, home cook’s love train. Here, he deploys a narrative strategy not unlike “Omnivore’s Dilemma.” He breaks the book up into four investigations, organized by fire (barbecue), water (braising), air (bread-baking), and earth (fermentation). This approach often turns out to be little more than gimmicky construct with discussions that tend toward “variations on a theme” and chapters that repeat in shopworn fashion the claims of predecessors. But to Pollan’s credit — more like his literary chops — each of these sections both stands on its own, and more importantly, coalesces into a unique brand of organic whole.

Click here to read more on MichaelPollen.com.

Healthy Eating on Just $300 a Day

Gwyneth Paltrow’s second cookbook, “It’s All Good,” which was released last week, is taking heat for being an elitist farm-to-table guide sprinkled with duck eggs and $25-a-jar Manuka honey. At best it makes it seem like healthy eating is strictly for the wealthy; at worst, it’s quack science for attempting to export Paltrow’s wacky elimination diet (no bell peppers, eggplant or corn? Huh?) to a populace that’s improperly nourished and financially struggling.

To read more on The New York Times click here

Book Review: Raising the Bar – The Future of Fine Chocolate

by Alex J. TunneyAlexTunney-Book_Review-_Raising_the_Bar-raising-the-bar

The second section of Raising the Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate by Pam Williams and Jim Eber, opens up in November 2010 with Art Pollard, of Amano Chocolate, a waking up in the passenger seat alongside his friend as they traverse the mountainous region of Venezuela’s Henri Pittier National Park:

The road narrowed as they climbed. Tight hairpin turns and blind curves seemed barely big enough for a single car to pass. And now it was raining. Torrentially. Rivers of water ran down the road and soon small landslides followed. The road doubled back on itself revealing a deep mountain chasm. Art looked to the bottom: a bus.

Gripping stuff, right? I thought so. A following paragraph continues on with the travelers as they approach the town of Choroni and sets a beautiful scene:

[…] As the rain diminished to a drizzle, the mountains and the Caribbean Sea expanded before the windshield. Huge strands of bamboo planted years ago to keep the original dirt trail from washing away lined the road. Tiny shops appeared selling arepas…

Why are Art and his friend making such a dangerous trek? To meet the farmers in Chuao village who have helped grow and develop cocoa beans, and to present one of the products of their labor: Amano chocolate bars. This a great way to start off the section—mostly concerned with the labor that goes into creating the fine chocolate, including the current economic, social and political situations concerning farming and the cocoa farming population—by hooking the reader and giving the topic a human face.

However, the book only stays with Art and the members of the Chuao village for a few opening pages.  Then, the reader is moved on to another story. Introductions to the other three parts begin like this as well: a brief narrative hook focusing on a person that quickly transitions to a discussion of issues on a broader and more abstract level. The book uses Art for a quote or two but doesn’t return to his and villagers’ story. (Readers will be introduced to many people that are only used for quotes or brief narratives, so much so, that it gets distracting trying to keep track.)

Similar books intertwine narrative with knowledge, but Raising the Bar places information over story. It does so to its detriment, as evidenced in the first part, “Seeds of Change: Genetics and Flavor.” There, after the narrative hook is finished, the reader is thrown into a sea of acronyms and science with little way of understanding what it all means. Perhaps the reason for this can be found in the notice, prior to the book proper, in which the authors ask readers “looking for motives, morals and plots [… to] stop.” The authors, a veteran chocolatier and marketing writer, may have tried to avoid accusations of bias, but they also eschewed a narrative that would have given context to the information they provide and a forward momentum for the reader. The book is supposed to be a short overview, but it might take readers far too long to get through.

It also seems that Williams and Eber were somewhat unsure of the book’s intended audience. Instead of starting off with more accessible topics such as marketing and flavor—the topics of the latter half of the book—it starts off of by discussing genetics. There is also an inconsistent tone to the book: while it avoids a dry presentation of facts, the voice occasionally gets too informal—the occasional swear or a meta-reference to writing the book—that doesn’t gel with the rest of the writing. I began to wonder if the book was better suited for a niche blog than for a mass audience publication.

The presentation of the book aside, the information presented is invaluable not only to the avid chocolatier but anyone interested in food studies, or concerned with how and what they eat. It captures a spread of interesting trends in contemporary food culture: the increasingly curious consumer, alternative ways of farming, flavor experimentation and the application of genetics in food production.

There are stories to be told about the pursuit of better chocolate, better ways of making chocolate and narrowing down the definition of fine chocolate. But the authors could have gone deeper and further with these stories; they only hint at them. As a result, Raising the Bar is a great resource; unfortunately, though, it is not a very entertaining book to read.

Raising the Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate was published by Wilmor Publishing Corporation on October 22, 2012.

Alex J. Tunney recently received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing (Non-Fiction) from The New School. He lives and writes on Long Island.