Articles Published in The New York Times Book Review

Deconstructing Dinner

His supermeticulous reporting is the book's strength -- you're not likely to get a better explanation of exactly where your food comes from.

You Want Fries With That?

Add another to the string of superlatives wreathing the world’s greatest power: Americans are now the fattest people on earth. (Actually a handful of South Sea Islanders still outweigh us, but we’re gaining.) Six out of every 10 of us—and fully a quarter of our children—are now overweight. Just since 1970 the proportion of American children who are overweight has doubled, a rate of increase that suggests the fattening of America has a specific history as well as a biology.

Poison

“This is the story of a body,” Susanne Antonetta tells us near the end of her arresting memoir of a New Jersey girlhood lived in the shadows of the 20th century’s most sinister molecules: the DDT, tritium, chlordane, benzene and plutonium that are now part of the American landscape. Antonetta, the author of three collections of poetry, spent her childhood summers in a bungalow on Barnegat Bay in southern Ocean County, one of the relatively low-income “sacrifice communities” where the toxic wastes of postwar civilization have pooled. We know a little about these places from the news, from books and movies like “Erin Brockovich” and “A Civil Action,” but for the most part we’ve glimpsed them only from a distance, through the eyes of crusading reporters and lawyer

Gardening

Reading along in THE INVITING GARDEN: Gardening for the Senses, Mind, and Spirit (Holt, $40), I suddenly came upon this provocative sentence: “Gardening is not a hobby, and only nongardeners would describe it as such.” For a writer as genial as Allen Lacy, this qualifies as a shot across the wheelbarrow. “There is nothing wrong

Gardening

What is a garden for? “Pleasure” is the obvious answer, though you’d never know it from reading Americans on the subject. We have an old habit in this country of weighing down our gardening—indeed, all our commerce with nature—with barrowfuls of moral and political significance, an inheritance, no doubt, from the Puritans and probably also

Gardening

Along with the seed catalogue, the book lies at the heart of the winter garden. Through its pages the gardener, who has worked more or less in isolation all summer, steps out into the wider gardening world, renewing his acquaintance with other gardeners and returning with a rich store of information—the printed kind, of course,

A Gardener’s Guide to Sex, Politics and Class

Call me bookish, but I bet there are many of us who choose their pastimes on the basis of the accompanying literature. Fly-fishing would hold little appeal if not for the shelf-ful of classics that comes with it, and until snowmobiling or pickerel-fishing acquire a halfway decent literature, people like me will have no trouble