I obtained a book entitled Hudson Valley-Food & Farming, Why Didn't Anyone Ever Tell Me That? by Tessa Edick, and was asked for my honest opinion and review. Where do I begin?
After banging my head for a little while, it occurred to me to simply follow the same steps as the author herself.....from the beginning. This book started at the 'grass roots' of this wonderfully organic region on both sides of the Hudson River that traverses, almost vertically, the entire state of New York. Tessa lays down an easy stepping stone on the building of a trip through time, food processing and culture of this area and beyond.
Throughout this engaging repertoire of the Hudson Valley, she writes with the laymen foody and horticultural professor in mind, yet with the style all of us can understand. Showing a condensed history of farming in New York, she is still able to get a superb amount of information in very few pages, making an English teacher very proud.
As the foremost New England Food Historian, I am pleased that Tessa dots every chapter with the history of certain time-honored beginnings of our American food heritage. It is obvious from the start that she adores her vocation as well as the small and larger farmers, writing of them as she would her own neighbor.
She also expertly gives you her insight on the future of organic farming and sustainability, with which should be considered as a top priority for all of us.
As a parent, I find this book especially gratifying because of her many references to children and family, both in the present sense and the future, with regards to our health resulting from our eating habits. In particular, the many family farms strewn around this valley that produces the best of the best in New York and what they are doing to improve lives. If I didn't know better, I would swear she was a Yankee, having that same proud cut and tenacity for neighborly love that we are so well known for.
On the same hand, she honestly and cautiously informs us of faults in our eating habits, the ramifications of the current eating trends and the 'how's and why's" of making better decisions.
I could distinctly see her sly grin in my mind's eye as her words of wisdom came at me at every turn of the page. And, much like our mother, she always had a way of smoothing out these eye-opening facts with a simple recipe that had me forgetting the "honest talk" we just had.
At the conclusion of this book was a simply prepared list of great farms, big and small, that hold the same love and concern for us as consumers as she showed during my time reading this great book.
And to sum up my opinion of the book? It was a great read! Only realizing I had learned something after I finished reading. I felt as though I just had a long talk with my mother or grandmother about options and choices about my diet. My Dad, the second Yankee Chef, would have easily attributed this book as a "comfort read", of which I sincerely agree.
Tessa Edick. I applaud your honesty, information and love for your 'neighbors" you so lovingly show in writing. I am proud to have had the opportunity for this review and would love to visit someday, spending time with these same neighbors and family. I also eagerly await your next book.....Mom!