Book Review: Unprocessed by Megan Kimble
Megan Kimble will speak at the Southwest Festival of the Written Word on Sunday, October 1, 2017 at 10:00am at the Old Elks Lodge. She will discuss her book Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food (William Morrow 2015), which describes her experience living an entire year without eating processed foods. Kimble was a city-dwelling 26-year-old, busy and broke, without so much as a garden plot to her name. But she cared about food: where it came from, how it was made, and what it did to her body. Far beyond just cutting out snacks and sodas, to avoid processed foods Megan had to ask: What makes food processed? The answer to that question is a journey through America’s food system, past and present. Barb Fila reviewed the book:
The tale of a young woman’s sojourn into a year of living “unprocessed” opens with the query “what is unprocessed food?” Megan Kimble, in Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food, treats the reader to her personal adventure of “unprocessing,” as she sifts through the seemingly limitless possibilities that await when an individual makes a conscious decision to shirk the ubiquitous artificially-flavored and -colored, pesticide-laden, Frankenfood options on our supermarket shelves. Yes, reader, the term “unprocessed” will be bandied about.
Kimble lets us tag along as she visits farms, grain mills, wineries, and landfills; participates in a butchering; makes chocolate; and mills her own grain. She allows us into her personal life, as she discovers the joy inherent in the preparation and sharing of food, as well as the sometimes humorous difficulties – can one go unprocessed and still date a climate denier? She weaves into her narrative numerous developments throughout history, those that have rendered our food supply tainted and far-removed from the producers of what we put on our plates.
While delivering a fact-filled, but never staid, discourse on what it means to be an aware consumer, Kimble reminds us that there are repercussions and ramifications to what each of us purchases almost every day of our lives. She posits that we can, indeed, instigate changes to the food industry by voting with our dollars, and without soap-box histrionics, asserts that we have important choices to make, in her own definitive and fresh voice: “what we do every day is more important than what we do once in a while.”
Megan Kimble is the editor of Edible Baja Arizona, a local food magazine serving Tucson and the borderlands. Megan has written for the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Orion Magazine, and High Country News. Her articles and essays have been anthologized in Best Food Writing 2015 (Da Capo Press), Coming of Age at the End of Nature (Trinity University Press 2016), and How We Speak to One Another (Coffee House Press 2017). She holds an MFA in Creative Writing nonfiction from the University of Arizona, and teaches as an adjunct lecturer in the school of journalism. For more about Kimble, visit megankimble.com.
This review and article was originally published on September 14 in the Silver City Independent.