Avocado Anxiety by Louise Gray [6/10]

Nowadays writing about food is much more complicated that a couple of decades ago, to the extent that there is a new sub-genre that examines the role of the food system in the climate crisis, the extinction crisis, and escalating global inequity. “Avocado Anxiety: and Other Stories About Where Your Food Comes From” is a mash-up of food history, carbon footprint discussions, food decision-making, English history, and emotionally charged recipes, ending up with a sense of overreach. Food writer/journalist Louise Gray relates the tales of a dozen fruits and vegetables as they have featured in the lives and history of Great Britain, and each of the stories is an engaging essay written with punch and flair. I learned plenty about bananas, avocados, and more. The author weighs in on the evolving debate about food miles: is it better to buy only local produce even if driving to a farmer’s market catalyzes greater emissions than air-freighted supermarket produce one can walk to? And so on and so on. I enjoyed her candor in admitting that often a decision on what and how to buy ends up being arbitrary or simplistic. In the end, Avocado Anxiety was an intriguing read that perhaps shrank from boldness and advice, advice this reader undoubtedly needs.

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