Irish Mike’s Summer Reading List

Irish Mike’s Summer Reading List

Summer Reading

This summer didn’t quite turn out to be what I was expecting. As many of you know, my mother had some severe health challenges (to put it lightly) and I ended up spending a lot more time in my hometown then I was initially hoping to. The good news is she is doing  SO MUCH better! To say that the situation was dire there for awhile is an understatement for sure. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. We are heading into the fall healthier, happier, and more hopeful.

One  benefit to sitting around in the hospital was that I was able to bring my iPad with me, as well as a couple of other books and was able to get some good reading in.  I wanted to share a bit of it with you in this post.

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation

What can I say…this book was simply fantastic. Michael Pollan is a leader in the food movement (if there is such a thing) and his latest book is outstanding.  Pollan takes the core elements of the earth (earth, wind, fire, and water) and helps Joe and Suzie Reader better understand how we humans eat, rather should eat.  The way Pollan goes about it is fun. For example, when discussing “fire,” the setting is a BBQ pit in North Carolina. What better place to discuss how fire can transform an animal into something not only delicious, but something that brings nutrients into our body in ways that would make vegetarians squirm.  When discussing “air,” Pollan explores the yeast that makes bread (he follows a baker in San Francisco), the yeast that ferments barley (learns to make beer at home, etc.), vegetables (kraut, kimchi, etc.), and cheese. The setting for the cheese section? A convent and a nun, who lives in Connecticut, and who makes cheese from an old French recipe, using a white-filmed wooden vessel and spoon. Why is this important? Well, when you consider bacteria, good bugs and bad ones, Pollan uses this cheese-making nun’s story as a lesson in the power of the good bugs beating out the bad bugs (case in point, to prove to the local health department that her dairy fuzzed vessel is actually safer than the stainless steel tools the health folks want her to use, she deliberately inoculates two batches of cheese with e coli, to see what happens…) You simply have to read this great book.  It is not a treatise, nor is it a large research paper, rather, it is an insight into how us humans have been created and why we should care more about what we are consuming.

God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World–and Why Their Differences Matter

Although I can’t remember who recommended this to me (I thought my sister, but she says no…hmmm) I found myself sucked in to this book whose premise is simple. All religious paths DO NOT get to the same God/Higher Power. The author takes a very candid and studious look into the history of the 8 “rival” religions, and their various sects/spin offs. Less opinion and more fact, the author, without having to say it, shows how ludicrous it is to think that all religious paths lead to the same place.  Sure, many of these religions have some similarities, even sharing some of the same recommendations on how to live a better, more devout life (pretty sure the “Golden Rule” concept is found in most if not all religious expressions), but the idea that the Christian path and the Hindu path end up at the same destination, or that those that follow Buddha’s teachings are somehow getting the same religious experience, ind the end, as an Orthodox Jew is almost laughable. And yet our PC society works real hard to blur the lines of religious expression, so as not to offend. Sadly, we are becoming a homogenized society, and our differences and expressions are becoming less clear, which in turn means we are not appreciating nor trying to understand the cultural, ethnic and religious traditions found throughout the world.

Happy, Happy, Happy: My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander

This book, by Phil Robertson, the dad/grandpa and founder of Duck Commander (Duck Dynasty anyone?) was fun and refreshing. This redneck’s book for living the happy life, has been on the NY Times best seller list for non fiction for weeks and weeks this summer.  Robertson shares with us many of the bright spots as well as some of the very difficult times in his life as a childhood and as an adult (hard to believe he was a drunk and was mean to Miss Kay!) Intensely frank and personal, Robertson does not shy away about his strong Christian faith, the child-rearing techniques he used for his 4 sons (3 licks if you talk back to Miss Kay, or fight with each other), Duck Commander, and being thrown awkwardly into celebrity, fame and wealth.  If you like Duck Dynasty, you simply must read this book.

The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage: True Tales of Food, Family, and How We Learn to Eat

A collection of short stories from food writers/bloggers throughout the country, this book was a lot of fun to read. In fact many excerpts were so great, I found myself reading them out loud to anyone that was listening! From marriage to raising children, to holiday traditions, each of the writers shared something relevant to them, many times personal, and their connection to a meal or time in their lives that meant something to them. Following each short story, there was a recipe that was connected in some way to the story. Still not sure about the title, but if you find yourself interested in eating traditions, family, marriage, and how it is all connected, give it a go…you will definitely enjoy it.

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1 thought on “Irish Mike’s Summer Reading List”

  • Wow I think it funny that you are once again getting caleld a fool a couple of typos in your book and they are ready to flog you and now because you are an AMERICAN that allows you to speak freely if you don’t agree with the right you are un American yeah well – I guess I am too M. The thing is I did not call people names because I voted for a candidate that lost the last election. While I and more left than right I have to say you right wingers need to get over yourselves quit being so freakin nasty. I am an American and I have a right to vote or believe what I want and if you call me names then you need to get over yourselves and suffer like the rest of us did for 8 long terrible years. Clinton did not take your guns away, taxes did not seem to hurt me all that much and we went from an in the red budget from the first Bush to a surplus with Clinton only to watch it be given to the friends of big business and oil. Hey love in the White House! seems like if Bush/Cheney would have had more Monicas they would not have all the hate for the world it would not have been so bad. Did Bush bail out the small restaraunts going under all over the country nope to fat cats that caused the problem and it was because of Bush policy on deregulation 9let business police themselves) enough about that ponder thisPonder the following:What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage, including a three month old infant and an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter?What if John McCain was a former president of the Harvard Law Review?What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?What if McCain had only married once, and Obama was a divorcee?What if Obama was the candidate who left his first wife after a severe disfiguring car accident, when she no longer measured up to his standards?What if Obama had met his second wife in a bar and had a long affair while he was still married?What if Michelle Obama was the wife who not only became addicted to pain killers but also stole them through her charitable organization that was to help poor African hospitals with medication?What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?What if Obama had been a member of the Keating Five? (The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s.)What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?What if Obama couldn’t read from a teleprompter?What if Obama was the one who had military experience that included discipline problems and a record of crashing seven planes?What if Obama was the one who was known to display publicly, on many occasions, a serious anger management problem?What if Michelle Obama’s family had made their money from beer distribution?What if the Obamas had adopted a white child?What if Michelle wanted to NOT be part of the United States of America, because Alaska is just too far from the US Mainland?You could easily add to this list. If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?Consider the candidates’ educational backgrounds:Barack Obama:Columbia University B.A. Political Science and International Relations.Harvard Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum LaudeJoseph Biden:University of Delaware B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science.Syracuse University College of Law Juris Doctor (J.D.)John McCain:United States Naval Academy Class rank: 894 of 899Sarah Palin:Hawaii Pacific University 1 semesterNorth Idaho College 2 semesters general studyUniversity of Idaho 2 semesters journalismMatanuska-Susitna College 1 semesterUniversity of Idaho 3 semesters B.A. in JournalismEducation isn’t everything, but this is about the two highest offices in the land as well as our standing in the world.So we are on this blog about food and we all have a love for it whover is in the White House.

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