I came to this book after reading most of the seminal books on food policy that have appeared over the last few years: Joanna Blythman's Shopped, Colin Tudge's So Shall We Reap, Graham Harvey's We Want Real Food and Felicity Lawrence's Not On The Label, for example. I read them all avidly and reinforced my own practical knowledge of the industrial food and farming industry from these pioneer works.
So before I read Rob's handsomely produced book, The Food Maze, my expectations were, to be honest, that this writer would not come up to the sophistication of better known professional food and agricultural writers and journalists. But I was soon won over by the intriguing narrative, the elegant writing style and arguments bursting with well-researched analysis and with he and his partner Sally's practically constructed philosophies for living.
The book takes the form of a road trip from the Herefordshire B&B where Rob and Sally live and make their living, to Scotland in search of food, health and wellbeing. Their journey is not just a physical one; it is also a metaphor for exploring how modern industrial food production is damaging our health.
Like all satisfying road trips we return wiser. In our case we come to understand why much of modern food fails to contribute to our wellbeing.If we take Rob's advice we will literally return home to a healthier, more sustainable system and buy fresh, local, organic, unprocessed food.
Rob Elliot's book is a very personal journey but with universal appeal and application; it has taken its place in my bookshelf alongside Blythman, Lawrence and Lang.