A few days ago, on a whim, I picked up What to Eat by Marion Nestle. I finished reading it this morning, and I have to say, this is one of the most interesting and useful books I've ever read. When I shop for food, I try to make good choices -- I try to go the the farmer's market every week so I can get produce that is local and organic, I try to buy fair-trade coffee, I try to get sustainably farmed, preferably organic, meat, dairy, poultry and fish -- but it's often hard to know what the "good" or "best" choices are. This book has cleared up a lot of that confusion for me.
Since I'm interested in food and try to pay attention to food news, some of the information wasn't new to me, but I like the way everything is laid out. Nestle does a nice job of presenting the legal/political, environmental, and ethical issues relevant to pretty much everthing in your average shopping cart, as well as things like vitamins and nutritional supplements. For me, the section of the book dealing with fish alone was worth the price of admission -- it's really hard to parse the confusing mass of data available to consumers and decide on fish choices that are both healthy (i.e. not contaminated too badly with methylmercury and PCBs) and sustainably produced. If you want a nice, sensible guide to the many dillemas surrounding what you eat (as well as a guide to eating healthfully), go to the library or bookstore and get this book right now. I know I'm gushing, but seriously -- read the damn thing and see if you don't agree with me.