Food smarts for the finicky locavore

for The Brooklyn Paper
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From milking goats and hunting monkfish to working at an organic restaurant, Melanie Rehak gets down and dirty with her food.

The Park Sloper’s new book, “Eating for Beginners: An Education in the Pleasures of Food from Chefs, Farmers, and One Picky Kid,” explores the balance between pleasure and ethics in today’s complicated food culture.

Taking cues from food gurus Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser, Rehak, who celebrates the release with a reading on July 9 at Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, traces her meal from farm (and ocean) to plate.

Ever inspired by “girl sleuth” Nancy Drew, Rehak acquaints herself with the organic food chain by volunteering for a year at Park Slope’s Applewood, a natural choice for its dedication to serving locally sourced food.

Then, going to the next level, the author tilled Connecticut farms and even braved the rough waters off the Jersey Shore in her quest for fresh grub.

Then she had a kid. And the kid turned out to be a picky eater. That’s when she learned to make compromises, some even recommended by diehard organic farmers, who admitted at times that they sometimes fed their kids processed foods.

But there are some bridges that Rehak won’t cross, so “Eating for Beginners” is a friendly, recipe-filled companion for Brooklynites, whether they have or have not yet hopped abroad the locavore bandwagon.

Melanie Rehak at Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. at S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246-0200], July 9 7:30 pm. For info, visit

Updated 5:19 pm, July 9, 2018
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