Bari Weiss of the Wall Street Journal reports for NY1 on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in "The Book Reader."
Jeannie Marshall fell in love with Italy for a reason anyone who's been there can understand: the food. Then she and her husband have a baby, a natural birth in a wine vat, and she is determined to raise him on real Roman food: kale, homemade pasta and cherries only when in season.
This is Italy, after all, how hard could it be?
It turns out, harder than Ms. Marshall thought. "The Lost Art of Feeding Kids: What Italy Taught Me About Why Children Need Real Food" chronicles her quest to raise her son in a storied food culture that is rapidly eroding. Her son's 6 year old friend drinks three or four cans of Coke a day, and Italian mothers aren't serving fava beans in olive oil at birthday parties, but candy and chips.
The trend is hardly unique to Italy, and the book doesn't remain there. Ms. Marshall heads to headquarters of Pepsi, the World Summit on Food Security, and to that high priestess of slow food, Alice Waters, to examine why traditional food cultures are being abandoned, and the catastrophic effect that its having on our health.
Still, "Weren't Europeans supposed to be more selective when it came to food?" she asks. "Weren't they supposed to resist all this?"
That, it turns out, is an American fantasy. Working mothers in Italy are pressed for time, and ads for McDonalds during Saturday morning cartoons are just as enticing in Italian.
To resist these trends, Ms. Marshall says we need to reexamine the cult of convenience that has led us into an age where a child's lunch - or, let's be honest, our own - can easily consist of food products, but no real food.
"There's no getting around it," she writes."If we want to eat well, we have to cook."
I'm keeping my eyes peeled for her cookbook.