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Book Review: Pressure Cooker, by Sarah Bowen et al
Pressure Cooker: Why Home Cooking Won't Solve Our Problems and What We Can Do About It, by Sarah Bowen, Joslyn Brenton, & Sinnikka Elliott
"Celebrity chefs and nutrition experts offer tips and recipes for 'eating well on a budget.' Poor people can eat healthfully, they suggest, if only they'd shop and cook smarter. But poor people already know a lot about getting by on a budget. For many poor mothers, trips to the grocery store are complicated by complex calculations about what they can and can't buy, judgment about the food in their carts, and constant reminders that they don't deserve to treat themselves or their children." (pg 131)
Raise your hand if: You've never had to wonder where your next meal was coming from. You're never gone without a meal so your child can eat. You don't have to walk or rely on rides or public transportation to get groceries. You have a full grocery store in a reasonable radius of home or work. You can afford to test a new healthy food your child might not eat. You don't have to watch your grocery shopping budget to the penny. No one judges you based on how you pay or what's in your cart. You can afford to reward yourself or your kids with something other than fast food or a cheap grocery store treat.
I raised my hand with each and every one.
This is the fourth book I've read in the past 12 months with an underlying theme of poverty. (See Evicted, Maid, Heartland.) This one is super relevant, as it focuses on the premise that making food a priority will lead to healthier, happier families. It sounds good. It sounds simple. But for so many in the U.S., as this well-researched book explores, it's anything BUT simple.
I've had so many preconceived notions about what it means to be poor. Books like this blow open the doors to my privilege, empathy, and understanding. It's uncomfortable. It's sad. At times, it's almost shameful. But I want to do better, because many of you DIDN'T raise your hand.
If you raised your hand, please read Pressure Cooker.