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Food for Thinkers: Evan Kleiman on How Cooking and Feeding Expresses Humanity

Evan Kleiman, host of KCRW's Good Food radio show, argues that food writing "is an intellectual and emotional funnel" to life's fundamental issues.

Chef, cookbook author, Slow Food Los Angeles founder, and host of KCRW's must-listen weekly Good Food radio show, Evan Kleiman is a food-world legend in Southern California and beyond. Her response to the Food for Thinkers conversation is a heartfelt argument for the importance of food writing.

From her post, it's clear that food has meant a lot to Kleiman, as a way "to learn to cook, learn about the world, make friends, build self-esteem, be social, create networks, and most importantly for me personally, give wing to dreams and intellect."

But beyond its importance in her own life, Kleiman argues that we should all be reading, talking, and thinking about food:

Writing about food has the ability to connect the corporeal, the intellectual and the spiritual worlds we inhabit. That’s why food writing is so important now. The different expressions of the discipline have the ability to connect the mundane to the vitally important. For how we feed ourselves, in the 21st century, in the first world, is a choice that has huge moral consequences. For many, the idea that it's a choice may be news. For most, daily eating is a choice of the default, i.e. the industrial or "Big Ag." There is no intention connected to it. And yet choosing the default today with the knowledge we have of the general unsustainability of current food systems is almost an amoral choice.

So reading food writing is essential. It encourages you to think about many seemingly disconnected threads that we weave into a whole. Whether that whole is sustainable and delicious or horrifying and degenerative is a choice. And it can all begin with a bite of something you love and a few well chosen words on a page.


Head over to KCRW's Good Food blog to read Kleiman's passionate post in full. Meanwhile, don't miss Rachel Laudan's earlier Food for Thinkers post, on the benefits of today's food system over our wholly organic past—and then step up to join in the debate yourself.

Food for Thinkers is a week-long, distributed, online conversation looking at food writing from as wide and unusual a variety of perspectives as possible. Between January 18 and January 23, 2011, more than 40 food and non-food writers will respond to a question posed by GOOD's newly-launched Food hub: What does—or could, or even should—it mean to write about food today?

Follow the conversation all week here at GOOD, join in the comments, and use the Twitter hashtag #foodforthinkers to keep up to date.

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