Monday, November 3, 2014

November 2014: Bet the Farm

Meeting details:  Where:  We are meeting at Tamara's house (check the email for an address!) When: Thursday, Nov 6, 2014 7:30 pm - discussion at 8:00 pm                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Discussion Questions:                                  1)Did you enjoy the book? Why or why not?  Did anything strike you as particularly enjoyable or profound?    

2) What does the author reveal about his personality?  Does he reveal any open or hidden bias?

3) Why does Kaufman choose pizza to begin his search for cheap, healthy, delicious food for everyone?  Is there some irony here, or some subtle statement about our culture?

4) In the beginning chapters, Kaufman visits and explains industrialization and science of mass food production and concludes that they contribute to, rather than hinder the efforts to have enough food to feed the world. pg 117  "For much of the twentieth century, global food production actually outpaced global population growth...Something other than the lack of food was keeping food from people's mouths."  Does he convince you?  Why or why not?

5) What do you think Kaufman thinks about the "organic", "eat local", "slow food" (etc.) food movements?  How does he feel about chemical and DNA changes to our food?

6) Kaufman describes a number of programs designed to help people around the world, and combat starvation: eg. Green Revolution (pg 112-113), genetically modified rice (chpt 16), and the World Food Program (pg 130ff)   He ultimately sees them as failing.  Why?  Do you agree?

7) What does Kaufman claim to ultimately be the problem/cause of rising world hunger?

8) Were you able to understand his presentation of the stock market - futures, hedging, derivatives, speculation etc...?

9) Does he offer any solution?  Does he advocate government regulation or farmer-led initiatives...or something else?

10) After reading Bet the Farm, do you feel hopeless about the future of farmers and food for the starving?

11) Will this book change the way you view food or even change you food purchasing? Does Kaufman even expect individuals to change?

12) How is Bet the Farm like other food genre books and how is it different?

13) Would you recommend this book to others?


"If anything could feed everybody, it was pizza.  The Japanese go for slices topped with eel and squid, while Bangkok residents like their crusts folded around hot dogs.  Pakistani pizza features curry, Costa Rican pizza features coconut, and Hong Kong locals have discovered a taste for abalone, crayfish, and crab roe pizza.  Russians like their pizza topped with salmon and sardines and onions.  Depending on where you stand on planet Earth, you may find yourself contemplating a slice of bacon cheeseburger pizza; dandelion pizza; mashed potato pizza; pulled-pork pizza; pickled ginger, minced mutton, and tofu pizza; or peanut butter and jelly pizza."

Kaufman visits tomato sauce plants, tomato farms, cheese plants, crust plants, pepperoni and meat processors, cucumber laboratories.  
He also dines at Moosewood...home of the "broccoli, cheese and brown rice casserole" and has guacamole and chips.

Given this, here is a suggested menu (feel free to add something!)

Pizza (duh!) I would suggest something non-Pizza Pizza ish...gourmet?  Room here for several people to sign up - Tessa, Melissa

Cheese tray
Bruschetta - Danielle
Cucumber and tomato salad 
Chips and guacamole - Karen
Broccoli, cheese and brown rice casserole 


  1. I can bring the broccoli, cheese and brown rice casserole!

  2. I'll make a pizza. Mmmm... pizza!

  3. I will also make a gourmet pizza😀😀

  4. I think I'm going to change to bruschetta...


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