Title: Edible Secrets: A Food Tour of Classified U.S. History
Authors: Michael Hoerger and Mia Partlow
Illustrations: Nate Powell
Published: 2010 by Microcosm Publishing
As pointed out in its introduction, food is as good a filter as any for relating to government secrecy: both are ever-present realities of life that we swallow without much further thought. This book is a creative one, in that it ties a lot of things together. It’s a history book, a comic, a zine, …and a reproduction of declassified government documents. All relating to food, either as a code word or as a coincidental element in major geo-political events (Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton was framed for robbing an ice cream truck at age 19; U.S. officials tried to assassinate Fidel Castro by spiking his milkshake with poison).
It’s a quirky take on a lot of different things that I enjoy reading about: history, secrecy, art, and food. I think it may take a special interest in the subject matter for the reader to really get down with this book, in my opinion—but I freakin’ love it. Nate Powell’s illustrations are the icing on the cake here: the first chapter’s title page shows Fred Hampton, dressed as Robin Hood, passing out ice cream to the neighborhood children. He hands a small boy a popsicle in the shape of a Black Power fist. Seriously, it doesn’t get any better than this. Original, political, historical, shocking, artistic: awesome.