Lessons on Food from E.B. White

By Kristin Donnelly Posted October 17, 2007

I headed to Lake Tahoe last week for five days of hiking and kayaking while visiting my good friend Natalie. Her latest obsession is Barbara Kingsolver's bestseller about a year of farming and sourcing only local food, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. The book has inspired my already environmentally-conscious friend to buy most of her food from the Tahoe City farmer’s market—she’s been stocking up on root vegetables, freezing pounds and pounds of heirloom tomatoes and drying huge bunches of herbs to use throughout the winter. Natalie insisted I look through Kingsolver’s book, but since I was on vacation, I needed a break from reading about people's eat-local-experiments and food obsessions. I brought along a book of essays by E.B. White forgetting that White often wrote about his farm in Maine, which naturally was tied to food. Some of his passages are so delightful, however that I can't resist sharing them. Plus, it’s amazing how much his essays, many written more than 50 years ago, hit on current food trends:

On the love for all things pig:
The scheme of buying a spring pig in blossomtime, feeding it through summer and fall, and butchering it when the solid cold weather arrives, is a familiar scheme to me and follows and antique pattern…The murder, being premeditated, is in the first degree but is quick and skillful, and the smoked bacon and ham provide a ceremonial ending whose fitness is seldom questioned. –from Death of a Pig

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