Susanne Freidberg


On her book A Perishable History

Cover Interview of April 17, 2009


My book offers no rules about what to eat or buy.  Many, many books already do that.  In fact one of the bigger points of writing the book was to show how faith in such rules—about what’s really fresh or natural or healthy—has often blinded us (as consumers) to the larger causes of the problems we hope to solve by buying and eating the right foods.  The current enthusiasm for local food is an example of this, I think.  It’s not hard to see why local food is appealing at many levels; I find it appealing myself.  It’s nice to think that buying this food might help local economies, preserve farmland and the environment more generally.  It’s reassuring to know where one’s food comes from and who grows it, especially given all the recent scares related to “global” food.  But if everybody’s going to have access to decent food, fresh and otherwise, we aren’t going to get there just by shopping at the farmers’ market.  For many readers this might be an obvious point.  Yet it still seems worth making, given that we are so besieged by messages telling us that the route to happiness and a better world runs through the market.  I don’t buy it.

© 2009 Susanne Freidberg