Tris

Tris M.

Library Services/Web Manager

Tris grew up outside of Chicago and will champion deep dish pizza to his death. Before coming to New York he had lived in Boston, London and Seattle. Tris enjoys buying more books than he can read, cooking, and traveling absurd distances to eat. He is currently obsessed with how our global food system is failing us.

Would you like other recommendations? Email me at staff+tris@strandbooks.com

Latest Review

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate

By Naomi Klein

What is wrong with us?

That is the question that sticks with you throughout Naomi Klein’s masterful new book, “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate.” Klein picks up where she left off with “The Shock Doctrine,” continuously exposing what capitalism, rampant free market ideology, and neoliberalism has done to hurt the global populace and ecosystem, all in the name of perpetual growth and increasing profits.

Reading “This Changes Everything” forces the reader through a gamut of emotions. In one section, you’ll be forced so far into the pits of despair that you’ll think there is no way we can stem the tide and save the planet. Flip the page and Klein will give you hope, offering anecdotes about how people have learned to fight and even prevail over what you were just worrying about. Guilt and self-reflection sticks with oneself throughout the book. If it sounds like Klein is scolding you, it’s only because she’s scolding herself as well. We have all let this go on for far too long and we’re at the point where it just might be too late.

We have let this happen because we live in a world firmly under the grasp of neoliberalist ideology. Our economy must keep growing, companies need to line the pockets of board members and shareholders at any cost, and we must all keep buying more stuff so this can happen. But it can not. Fossil fuels are finite. Yet, replacement ratios need to stay at 100% for investors to keep faith in energy companies. This is what leads to fracking and deep water drilling, and subsequently to non-potable water and obscene oil spills. Energy companies have announced their intent to extract five times the amount of fossil fuels that our atmosphere can handle. So, one would think, it’s time for the governments of the world to say no to the energy companies.

Unfortunately, since money equals political power, government and corporations are largely still ignoring the extreme warning signs the planet is giving us and the growing social unrest of their constituency/customer base. Free trade treaties make it illegal to ban or challenge a company’s right to drill; local green companies cannot be given preference over dirty multinational oil companies. This has led to governments filing ticky-tack lawsuits against each other, instead of sitting down and trying to figure out a solution.

But why would governments even care? They’re in bed with the very companies they are supposed to be regulating. In the UK, energy corporations give the government free employees to assist with work on energy issues. The immense profits reaped by energy companies lead to outsized influence and lobbying power. Even Big Green organizations work with the energy companies, and in one despicable instance, even drilled on their own nature preserve.

Many believe there will be some amazing tech fix dreamt up by a team of the world’s smartest scientists. Their solutions are classic sci-fi plots. They want to embrace geoengineering or literally block the sun. This sounds great until one remembers that using science and industry to mess with a world and ecosystem we still don’t understand is what got us into this mess in the first place.

Others still are waiting for a real life John Galt to come and save everyone, through some brilliant means that only the benevolent Mr. Galt could have invented. Sir Richard Branson pledged $3bn to fight climate change ten years ago. He expected to come up with a non-carbon burning fuel that could keep the world going on as usual, or failing that, a contraption that we could point at the sky to disperse carbon in the atmosphere. Unsurprisingly, a miracle cure has not arrived and Mr. Branson has not come close to the pledge amount he made, instead investing in expansions of his carbon-spewing airlines. A brutal reminder that John Galt may exist, but only to make himself more money.

Seeing all these odds stacked against us is daunting. Klein recognizes this, and she essentially calls for a worldwide radical social non-violent revolution throughout the book. She sees every current progressive cause as part of the larger overall fight. Guarantee a liveable wage and the jobs dirty energy companies offer won’t be as appealing. Keep affordable housing near transit terminals so the people that need mass transit the most can use it and not drive a car.

A huge weapon in the fight for the climate has been the legal gains indigenous peoples have made based off language in treaties signed between them and the Canadian and American governments. Many treaties included a provision for the indigenous population to live their life traditionally: to fish, to hunt, and to forage. The First Nations of Canada have fended off energy companies by arguing that the invasive extractive means used by energy companies impedes their way of life and thus violates various treaties. This is galvanizing a whole new generation of young indigenous peoples, as well as non-native locals who are realizing these treaties are their best chance to protect their shared lands.

Taking a page from Apartheid-era protests, there have been movements to get governments, institutions of higher learning, and other companies to divest from dirty energy companies and to revest in companies that have a clear and planned path to helping combat climate change. On a local level, city governments have decided to take back their previously privatized energy grids after the private companies have refused to provide clean energy. Germany leads the way, as 30% of their energy now comes from renewables.

During the writing and researching of the book, Klein went through a few miscarriages and the birth of a child. The final chapter is about reproductivity. In the worst energy disasters, larvae, eggs, and fetuses are not counted in the monetary loss during assessment. Not only are the larvae destroyed, the stress incurred by adult species usually removes or prohibits their ability to reproduce. So while fish stocks might seem strong for 3-4 years after a disaster, it’s afterwards when the stocks plummet.

Klein’s final miscarriage was linked to chemicals which she breathed in while covering the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico. These same chemicals are what seriously impacted the reproduction of dolphins, including killing an abnormal amount of young. It’s hard not to see what she’s getting at here. Unabashed capitalism and the “drill, baby, drill” attitude harms every living thing, but harms our future exponentially worse. The animals that sustain us and our ecosystems will not be able to reproduce, and if they do, the chemicals put into the air, water, and ground through invasive extractive methods will decimate the under-developed immune systems of the surviving youth. As preliminary studies have shown, we humans are not exempt from the same fate. And Earth may not be either. So, instead of asking “What is wrong with us?” maybe it’s time for us all to start asking “What can I do?”

Older Review

Jerusalem: A Cookbook

By Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Jerusalem is Yotam Ottolenghi’s follow up to last year’s wildly successful Plenty. Departing from the vegetarianism of his previous book, Ottolenghi co-authored Jerusalem with head chef of the Ottolenghi group of restaurants, Sami Tamimi. Both men grew up in Jerusalem; Ottolenghi on the Jewish west side and Tamimi on the Arab east side. Jerusalem is a product of the sights, smells and taste of their childhoods.

Jerusalem has many of the same strengths as Plenty. The recipes are smooth and easy to follow, with small hints on how to pick out a certain ingredient, what to substitute or what exactly should be accomplished. The photography is straight up food porn, boasting lush and vibrant pictures of the magnificent food created by Ottolenghi and Tamimi. There are also pictures of street scenes in the city, allowing the authors to bring you into their past lives.

Some recipes are simple and untouched by the modernity of cosmopolitan London cuisine; there is no need to improve on a dish that was perfected generations ago. Others have been transformed to fit more modern tastes. Jerusalem is perhaps a bit less innovative than Plenty. That is not it’s purpose and is reflected by the ingredients used. Not once have I had to really hunt for an ingredient like I did with Plenty. There are dishes that can be made on a weeknight, leaving you just enough time to read the historical tidbits scattered throughout. Other dishes are labor intensive and are best left to a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Having cooked extensively with Plenty and eaten at their restaurant in Islington, Jerusalem helped me understand the driving force behind Ottolenghi and Tamimi. They grew up in one of the oldest cities in the world. A city that has been at the crossroads of countless different civilizations and an infinite amount of trade routes. The food the authors ate when they were young was a result of millennia of various influences. This shines in the dishes created by Ottolenghi and Tamimi; they show no fear in marrying odd flavors together. Jerusalem is where it all started.

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  • Jerusalem: A Cookbook

    By Yotam Ottolenghi

    Our Price: $31.50
    • Format: Oversize Hardcover
    • ISBN-13: 9781607743941
    • Publisher: Ten Speed Press
    • Published: October 2012
    "A collection of 120 recipes exploring the flavors of Jerusalem from the New York Times bestselling author of Plenty, one of the most lauded cookbooks of 2011. In Jerusalem, Yotam Ottolenghi re-teams with his friend (and the co-owner of his restaurants) Sami Tamimi. Together they explore the vibrant cuisine of their home city--with its diverse Muslim, Jewish, Arab, Christian, and Armenian communities. Both men were born in Jerusalem in the same year--Tamimi on the Arab east side and Ottolenghi in the Jewish west. This cookbook offers recipes from their unique cross-cultural perspectives including Charred Baby Okra with Tomato and Preserved Lemon, Braised Lamb Meatballs with Sour Cherries, and Clementine and Almond Cake. With five bustling restaurants in London and two stellar cookbooks, Ottolenghi is one of the most respected chefs in the world; Jerusalem is his most personal, original, and beautiful cookbook yet"--
  • The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One)

    By Patrick Rothfuss

    Our Price: $17.10
    • Format: Paperback
    • ISBN-13: 9780756405892
    • Publisher: DAW Books, Inc.
    • Published: April 2009
    Patrick Rothfuss' debut novel combines the intricate stories-within-stories structure of The Arabian Nights with the academic setting of the Harry Potter series, and transforms it all into a brooding, thoroughly audlt meditation on how heroism went wrong. 665p.
  • We

    By Yevgeny Zamyatin

    Our Price: $16.00
    • Format: Paperback
    • ISBN-13: 9780812974621
    • Publisher: The Modern Library
    • Published: July 2006
    Written in 1921, We is set in the One State, where all live for the collective good and individual freedom does not exist. The novel takes the form of the diary of mathematician D-503, who, to his shock, experiences the most disruptive emotion imaginable: love. At once satirical and sobering – We is both a rediscovered classic and a work of tremendous relevance to our own times. 203p.

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