Activist Mommy

{August 22, 2007}   Read Here Often?

This showed up in my email this morning thanks to Google and I couldn’t not comment. 1 in 4 adults in America didn’t read a book last year. How can you go an entire year without reading a single book? Maybe it’s jsut the book worm in me, but I couldn’t go an entire week without picking up a book at least once. And as a parent I can’t go an entire day without reading a kid’s book.

I searched for the actual poll and found this article from MSNBC that says women are more avid readers than men. Here are some interesting statistics:

There was even some political variety evident, with Democrats and liberals typically reading slightly more books than Republicans and conservatives.

Yet the poll also says

Who are the 27 percent of people the AP-Ipsos poll found hadn’t read a single book this year? Nearly a third of men and a quarter of women fit that category. They tend to be older, less educated, lower income, minorities, from rural areas and less religious.

I found that comparison interesting as the general stereotype for Democrats and Liberals is that they are mostly minorities and less religious. The areas with the highest readers was also interesting, as the midwest and South tend to have higher populations of Republicans and Conservatives.

People from the West and Midwest are more likely to have read at least one book in the past year. Southerners who do read, however, tend to read more books, mostly religious books and romance novels, than people from other regions.

What does it all mean? Maybe that more Americans should turn off the TV and the computer and pick up a good book. I’ve got a short list of books I recommend picking up. Feel free to suggest more and I’ll add them to the list.

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To say bye-bye to Local Food Month I finally got to set down and read my book last night, The United States of Arugula: The Sun Dried, Cold Pressed, Dark Roasted, Extra Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution. I’m still in the first half of it, but I can say it is almost relaxing to know that Americans have had serious food issues long before McDonalds came along. We’re a nation that seems to think vegetables come from cans and if the box says there are vitamins in it then it must be good. Some of the oddities of the eating habits talked about in this book made me laugh, though getting to see the behind the scenes story of some the the top chefs is great. And it’s nice to know that Dr. Kellogg’s masturbation obsession* went as far as food too. He believed that eating meat caused masturbation and that people should have yogurt enemas. I’m almost curious what his sex life was like. Almost.

Andrew Zimmerman Bizzare FoodsI’m going to have to write a real review of this book as soon as I’m done. It is actually really interesting to read, especially if you love food. Or at least love celebrity chefs. I’m not quite a foodie, but the Activist Daddy and I do enjoy staying up late to watch some Andrew Zimmerman on the Travel Channel. We can’t help but stare in wonder and horror while he eats bugs, and raw fish hearts, and parts of animals we normally toss out. He’s like our hero, urging us to eat something new and not to waste any parts. Luckily for me not waasting any parts means eating all of the stem of my broccoli, but you get the point. Can you imagine that this is his job? Asside from being a chef at a very expensive resturant, his job is to travel the world and eat things no red blooded American would dream of touching. And he likes it.

Zimmerman is the first person to come to my mind when reading The United States of Arugula, and not just because we’re fans. The beginning of the book talks about some the famous foodies that started the celebrity chef thing here in America. Like Craig Claiborne who joined the navy to escape his mother and ended up traveling the world enjoying exotic foods ended up a leading food critic and journalist.

OK, I’m going to stop now before I ruin the whole book for anyone who has not read it yet. I promise as soon as I am done I’ll write a real review. Hopefully that will be by this weekend. So far I am really enjoying it and definitely recomend it to others to read.

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg*Side note, Dr. Kellogg, the man behind the cereal, was  one of the men who really pushed for routine infant circumcision in America. He felt that foreskins were what made little boys masturbate, and masturbation lead to everything from insanity to heart disease. Think about that the next time you eat your Corn Flakes. read more here>>>.

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My super yummy vegan brownie recipe is being featured over at Living Without Meat right now. Go on, you know you want to check it out. The recipe won me a copy of David Kamp’s “The United States of Arugula: The Sun-Dried, Cold-Pressed, Dark-Roasted, Extra Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution”. There are still a few copies left, so get your recipe in too.


I didn’t expect so many people to dig my brownies! Suddenly I’m finding links from everyone thanks to this recipe. LOL So I thought I would add it here too.

Activist Mommy’s Vegan Brownies

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup vegan sugar
2 bananas
1/4 cup applesauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into a lightly greased 8×8 pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!

Some people thought they were a bit too mushy, I say cut back on the applesauce to help. The original recipe that was given to me has 3 eggs in it but no bananas or applesauce so this is the result of me playing around with it to make them eggs-free.
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Living Without Meat is giving away the book The United States of Arugula: The Sun-Dried, Cold-Pressed, Dark-Roasted, Extra Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution by David Kamp. All you have to do is email her a great vegetarian recipe. I’ve already got my recipe ready to go so you better get yours in too.

  • Farm Dreams has a great list of some Good Books. Three of them are must reads fo the organic,healthy, natural food lovers. There is also a great autobiography on a small farm sitting in the middle of an urban sprawl.
  • The Portland Tribune’s Sustainable Life section features a great book that extols modest living, self-sufficiency as path to happiness. The book is described as an “exuberant celebration of one man’s attempt to live modestly”.
  • The BeHeard blog has six powerful books listed written by Enlightening female authors. These are six deeply important books for all women to read.
  • The GNMParents present some Green Summer Reading that should be on everyone’s list for this summer. From Garage Sale America to The Omnivore’s Dilemma these are definitely books to add to your “must read” lsit.
  • Comfortably Green shares Why having more no longer makes us happy,  an excerpt from Bill McKibben’s new book, Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future.

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