If many of his compatriots were in the house chamber, they didn't have much of a chance to be heard, because the panelists were themselves pretty diverse (even if I doubt he'd think so). All the writers want to make you think about where the food you eat comes from and what choices you're making when you buy and eat food, mostly the hidden ones.
They come at it in different ways. Jason Sheehan, a hardscrabble, profane, deliberately naughty chef, is following in the footsteps of Anthony Bourdain with his Cooking Dirty: A Story of Life, Sex, Love and Death in the Kitchen, like Bourdain funny, entertaining, and provocative--but he also gives you an idea of just what life is like for the people who make that BBQ in the roadside joint, or the corned-beef sandwiches in the famous Irish pub on St. Patrick's Day. He's full of bravado, and you're sure he'll have sleeve tattoos, though as it happens he doesn't.
I'm late to discovering Novella Carpenter's wonderfully funny Farm City: the Education of an Urban Farmer, though friends have for months been ending conversations and emails telling me I had to read it. They were right, of course. Hers is a voice as unmistakable and entrancing as Carol Ann's, with grit and erudition and constant resilience--as she needs to turn 4,500 rubbish-heaped square feet of a vacant lot next to her mean-streets Oakland apartment into a productive paradise. There's nothing self-conscious or self-satisfied about her stories of raising not just heirloom watermelons and tomatoes but heirloom birds for meat and then pigs: just spunk and humor, and plenty of suspense as practically about every vine and animal is threatened by urban predators. She's great company.
Sheehan's and Carpenter's books are mostly about voice; the other two authors focus mainly on ideas, though they're remarkably clear and passionate writers too. Jonathan Safran Foer brings his famous blend of adventurous exploration and attuned observation of worlds both without and within to his new Eating Animals, which has ample amounts of his famous storytelling (as the excerpt in the New York Times Magazine displayed), but also straight-out reporting and advocacy against eating meat for any reason, including environmental responsibility.
Environmental responsibility is the main subject of James McWilliams's Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly, a book I'm reading with close interest and will have more to say about--as McWilliams, a contributor to the Food Channel, will too. As everyone who reads him knows, McWilliams doesn't shy from breaking locavores and generally right-minded food people of many of their most cherished assumptions, even if he shares many of their practices: he's a committed vegetarian, though more from his grounding as an environmental historian than the kind of passionate personal conviction Foer brought to the crowded chamber with a kind of quiet, flame-hard purity.