As a boy, Tovar Cerulli spent his summers fishing for trout and hunting bullfrogs. While still in high school, he began to experiment with vegetarianism. By the age of 20, he was a vegan. A decade later, in the face of declining health, he returned to omnivory, and within a few years, found himself headed into the woods, rifle in hand.
In this deeply personal narrative, Cerulli explores our nutritional connections with the larger-than-human world. From a fateful encounter with a brook trout to a rekindled relationship with the only hunter in his family, he traces the evolution of his dietary philosophy. Contemplating vegetable gardens, farm fields, and deer woods with intellectual and emotional candor, he stalks both food and meaning.
Cerulli’s tale brings nuance to conversations often dominated by black-and-white thinking. He sets contemporary debates in context by looking back over centuries of history, delving into our changing natural and cultural landscapes, and examining the shifting meanings of vegetarianism and hunting. In place of moral certainties, he offers questions.
Can hunters and vegetarians be motivated by similar values and instincts? In this time of intensifying concern over ecological degradation and animal welfare, how do we make peace with the fact that, even in growing organic vegetables, life is sustained by death?
At once compassionate and probing, The Mindful Carnivore invites us to reconsider what it means to eat.
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