Melanie Rehak always loved cooking, eating, and sharing food with loved ones. Since reading the likes of Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, and Wendell Berry, she’d made particular efforts to buy organic and local foods. But after the birth of her son Jules she realized that she was now responsible for feeding someone who’d never eaten chocolate, and she wanted to know more. What mattered more, organic or local? Who were these local farmers? Was it possible to be an ethical consumer and maintain the pleasure of cooking and eating? And why wouldn’t Jules eat anything, organic or not? Eating for Beginners details the year she spent discovering what it means to be an eater and a parent in today’s increasingly complicated world. She joined the kitchen staff at Applewood, a small restaurant owned by a young couple committed to using almost entirely locally grown food, and worked on some of the farms that supplied the restaurant. Between harvesting potatoes, milking goats, sorting beans, and becoming seasick while searching for monkfish, Rehak gained an understanding of what to eat and why. And it didn’t hurt that along the way, even the most dedicated organic farmers admitted that their children sometimes ate frozen chicken fingers. In her illuminating chronicle of the choices and compromises that farmers and chefs make every day, Rehak shows us how to make our peace with food.