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March 10 , 2009

My Organic Life

How a Pioneering Chef Helped Shape the Way We Eat Today


A wonderfully engaging memoir from the woman who founded America’s first certified organic restaurant, My Organic Life is the story of an unheralded culinary pioneer who made it her mission to bring delicious, wholesome foods to the American table.
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While growing up on a farm in the Austrian Alps and later in Vienna, Nora Pouillon was surrounded by fresh and delicious foods. So when she and her French husband moved to Washington, D.C., in the 1960s, she was horrified to discover a culinary culture dominated by hormone-bloated meat and unseasonal vegetables. The distance between good, healthy produce and what even the top restaurants were serving was vast, and Nora was determined to bridge that gap.

First as a cooking teacher, then as a restaurant owner, and eventually as the country’s premier organic restaurateur, she charted a path that forever changed our relationship with what we eat. Since it opened in 1979, her eponymous restaurant has been a hot spot for reporters, celebrities, and politicians—from Jimmy Carter to the Obamas—alike. Along the way, Nora redefined what food could be, forging close relationships with local producers and launching initiatives to take the organic movement mainstream.

As much the story of America’s postwar culinary history as it is a memoir, My Organic Life encompasses the birth of the farm-to-table movement, the proliferation of greenmarkets across the country, and the evolution of the chef into social advocate. Spanning the last forty years of our relationship with food, My Organic Life is the deeply personal, powerfully felt story of the organic revolution—by the unlikely heroine at its forefront.

From the Hardcover edition.
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