A retired telecom executive moves with her husband to small town Mount Ida, Arkansas. Their plan is to live out their golden years in happiness. Then, tragically, her husband dies much too soon. She later answers a call for volunteers at a local food pantry, partly to fill the void left behind by her husband’s passing. That move leads to the beginning of a journey — both personal and practical — to discover just what has happened to food in America.
Pat Smith’s new book, It’s All About the Food, is a wonderful guide to where the American diet went wrong, why that matters to you, and what you can do about it. (That’s a riff on the book’s subtitle and is totally accurate regarding where this book will take you.) The stories, wisdom, experience, and downright practical advice that fill this book’s pages together offer a wonderful entry in the healthy living and sustainable foods genre. Readers of Michael Pollan, Melissa Hartwig, Pamela Smith, and Gillian McKeith will engage Pat Smith’s writing and perspective with profit and enjoyment.
Part of Smith’s power is in her ability to weave together a story about wanting to help the economically disadvantaged folks in her community together with a personal quest to find the causes and treatments for her type 2 diabetes. In the process, she’ll take you from Mount Ida to Austin, and from the family farm of her own childhood to the food mega-industry of the present. Smith writes as a dedicated Methodist laywoman whose interest in helping people make good choices about food and lifestyle is at least partly borne out of her deep Christian faith—something that I appreciate, and which connects her with a significant strand of the Wesleyan tradition. ~Andrew C. Thompson