Friday, June 15, 2012

Review: Eat The City by Robin Shulman


A cross between David Kamp's The United States of Arugula and Russell Shorto's The Island at the Center of the World, a beautifully written, utterly satisfying--and delicious--narrative of the history and culture of urban food

Beneath the gritty, urban shell of New York City is an uprising of local farmers and producers, planting sugarcane on their windowsills and catching their dinner in the local waters. While the city has historically been a center of food production, and certainly an arbiter of restaurant culture, the rural, folksy traditions of making beer, planting heirloom vegetable gardens, and cultivating honey are not easily associated with New York's fast-paced lifestyle. But it is happening, in dimly lit kitchens and vacant lots across the boroughs--everything from meat production to winemaking. Here, the good food movement thrives; its legacy is extensive and as
varied as the people who champion its growth.

In Eat the City, journalist Robin Shulman explores urban food production from both a historical and cultural perspective. Shulman answers fundamental questions about the origins and history of this movement and why it is important environmentally, culturally, and socially.


This is one book that is probably better to read and own rather than just review.

Eat The City is a look into the little-known world of food growing in New York. From homemade wine to fishing and farming, there's plenty to read about here.

In a way, it reminds me of those feature articles written in magazines like The New Yorker. Each chapter focuses on one particular food and its past and present. It's not a dry non-fiction book, though. The stories of real people are written and interwoven seamlessly here.

I found the entire book fascinating as I really didn't know that these things were happening in New York. Of course, everything I know of New York I learned from movies, television shows and books. The book makes an excellent read as it's relevant not only to New Yorkers, but also to other city-dwellers.

Thanks to NetGalley and Crown Trade for the e-ARC. Publication date of Eat The City is on July 10, 2012.


  1. The writing style is very polished and elegant.
  2. You learn a lot of new and practical things.
  3. It's a side of New York that isn't that well-known.


  1. If you have a short attention span, this might not be your cup of tea.

Cities have resources that people can tap in surprising ways.

  1. You like the idea of growing or fishing for your own food.
  2. You like well-researched books.
  3. You like history.




Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

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