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The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America's Underground Food Movements

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  823 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews
An instant classic for a new generation of monkey-wrenching food activists. Food in America is cheap and abundant, yet the vast majority of it is diminished in terms of flavor and nutrition, anonymous and mysterious after being shipped thousands of miles and passing through inscrutable supply chains, and controlled by multinational corporations. In our system of globalized ...more
Paperback, 378 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company (first published 2006)
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The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanKitchen Confidential by Anthony BourdainAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara KingsolverFast Food Nation by Eric SchlosserIn Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Food-Related Non-Fiction
148th out of 759 books — 1,408 voters
The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanFast Food Nation by Eric SchlosserIn Defense of Food by Michael PollanEating Animals by Jonathan Safran FoerAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Food Politics
21st out of 78 books — 61 voters

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Community Reviews

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Meredith Murphy
Jul 06, 2013 Meredith Murphy rated it did not like it
Shelves: agriculture
Ugh. I couldn't even finish this book. Granted, there are some good parts, and some useful facts, recipes, etc. Peaceful noncompliance with nonsensical laws is healthy and I liked the author's description of the Bread Club in the book's introduction.

But that being said, I couldn't stand any longer to wade through the logical fallacies and inconsistencies that were scattered throughout the book. There's an entire chapter devoted to telling us that modern medicine is a scam and that we should rel
Daphne Stanford
Jun 12, 2007 Daphne Stanford rated it really liked it
An absolutely inspiring piece of informative literature about the state of real food in the U.S. these days -- with an admittedly cheesy title, but don't let that distract you.

The author, who is part of an 'intentional community' (an agrarian cooperative) in Tennessee, discusses the state of real milk, cheese, bread, and the old ways of harvesting seeds -- actually becoming a 'political act' these days because of large seed companies and their attempts to control our ability to grow food -- of
Stephanie Solomon
Feb 24, 2008 Stephanie Solomon rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Shelves: the-very-best, food
This book has taken over my life. It is exactly the kind of food politics I want to think about, talk about, be activated by and be inspired by.
Feb 23, 2009 Janelle rated it really liked it
Yes, I read another food book, but this one is a little edgier than the others.

The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved goes beyond the usual local food, CSA, boycott industrial food mindset. Michael Pollan, Barbara Kingsolver, Mark Bittman... I would describe them as food activists, but the kind who work the system. Sure, they grow their own food and aren't doing a lot of supermarket shopping, which is radical compared to the industrial food norm... but frankly, those authors sounded quite tame c
Aug 29, 2007 Sheryl rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who want to get off the grid
Shelves: foodpolitics
Gosh, it took me forever to finish this book....I think I started it in February or something. I don't know why it took me so long, except that I got hung up on the chapter about factory farming(the same thing happened when I was reading The Omnivore's Dillema) but once I got past that, it was smooth sailing.
Sandor Katz is just a very inspiring guy, and his personal anecdotes are what really make this book compelling. Most of the underground food movements he talks about I already knew about, bu
Dec 01, 2007 Allison rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
This book rocked my world. I've read a lot of books about food politics. Many of them depress the hell out of me. They offer all problems and no solutions.

The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved changed that. Each chapter focuses on one problem with our current industry. And each chapter offers examples of actions being taken to change it. From buying more local food to growing your own to finding raw milk, this book suggests ways to make positive change by just paying attention to what we are eat
Apr 14, 2008 Christina rated it liked it
Shelves: food
As a result of reading this book, I changed what kind of milk I buy. Overall, the book's more activist than I am - I'm not likely to take up dumpster-diving as a means of food acquisition. It's been good to be reminded, though, of the size and pervasiveness of the corporate food conglomerate. From Roundup-Ready to terminator seeds to suing farmers who save seeds to the buying power of large corporations not only driving small local farms out of business but determining what people should eat, an ...more
May 25, 2013 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: cooking-food
This book was interesting in that it explores various underground or fringe food movements - everything from the raw milk movement, to freegans (people who search for food in dumpsters, etc.), and illegal seed saving and exchanges. Each chapter covered a particular movement or topic and included at least one recipe. While there was a LOT of great information and it's definitely encouraging to see that there is so much off the radar food interest, I didn't love the book. It was pretty long and de ...more
Oct 13, 2007 Stefka rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who eat food
Everyone has to eat. This book takes a long hard look at how our food production system evolved into the current supermarket structure, where our food comes from, who produces it, and how it is processed before we see it.

More disturbing aspects of the book discussed the effects of
pesticides on farm workers, various sorts of difficulties that independent family farmers face, the decreasing diversity of our crops, and the incredible amount of waste that goes on in our country.
It was especially f
Mar 26, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
On the subject of food and eating... if Michael Pollan were a cupcake, Sandor Ellix Katz would be raw grass fed steak. I say that with total respect to both authors. There is a lot of this book that isn't palatable - most of us really don't want to think about bananas year round in the grocery store or where our milk came from. There's also a lot in this book that is refreshingly honest. Life is complex. Pharmaceuticals have their uses. There is no easy 1. 2. 3. plan.

I'm grateful for books like
Sep 28, 2007 Bart rated it really liked it
Infrequently unimaginative (such as tacit praise for alternative school's local food lunch program that "dramatically improved student behavior and performance" (25) - which I interpret as accepting indoctrination) and full of hippy [crap], Sandor Ellix Katz' worst chapter is Vegetarian Ethics and Humane Meat. After building arguments elsewhere in the book on abstract concepts, Katz describes a few reasons for being vegetarian - "feminism, pacificism, concern about world hunger, fairness, animal ...more
Jul 26, 2011 Tammie added it
While I found a lot of the information in this book to be a repeat of what I have read in several other books, I found a lot of information that was new to me.
It is funny how a lot of the books in this genre all quote each other quotes from books by Michael Pollan, Wendel Berry, Alice Waters, Joel Salatin and of course the inevitable mention of Alice Waters. I know it's because they all research similar topics but it's just funny to me.
I did appreciate the section of the book that focused on for
Jun 18, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing
If I could pick one book that I think everyone on Earth should read, this would be it. What Fast Food Nation did for fast food this book does for all of the food that we put in our bodies. This book is written in a way that is accessible, but also includes footnotes with sources and the end of each chapter contains additional books/movies/websites/organizations to contact regarding each subject. After reading this book, I, Jessica, the woman who refused to cook, now buys only (local, in every in ...more
I recently came upon a bibliography of books on food with a common theme of sustainability -- I think it was in the New York Times Magazine, perhaps. I got a bunch of them out of the library. Some are excellent and others not so much or just weren't for me. One of those is The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved. The writing didn't draw me in, and perhaps my lifestyle is just too different from Katz's for his book to resonate with me. I did learn some things from the sections I read, such as that ...more
May 14, 2013 Desiree rated it it was amazing
This book gives me hope.
Then again, this book was written in 2006 and I don't see that ANYTHING has changed. We can be excited that 90% of Americans now want GMO products labeled, when they used to not know what the heck that was, but really that knowledge and desire has been extant for at least 9 years now. And the corporations just keep getting stronger and the health of the world's people, and the earth itself from all of our chemical inputs, continues to decline.

I wish that the "underground"
Aug 22, 2009 Katie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food
I enjoyed this book's frolic through the many faces of current renegade food cultures. I loved the discussions of raw milk and fresh produce undergrounds, Slow Food International, seed saving, local food, and reclaiming food waste. I was less interested in the discussion of poop recycling, roadkill foraging, and medicinal uses of marijuana. I also think the detailed description of the alternative community in which the author lives is not always necessary and may hinder his credibility with some ...more
Oct 24, 2008 Beth rated it really liked it
I learned much more in this book than I had anticipated. It is an in depth look, as many books are recently, about our move from cooking and farming to pre-packaged life-styles, but specifically looks at patriotic and cultural trends, policy issues, and regulations that have assisted corporate interests in succeeding at production farming while simultaneously creating illegal "pirate" markets in cheese and dairy production on the small scale. Even bread making and baking - in terms of selling go ...more
Mallory Dowd
Jun 27, 2008 Mallory Dowd rated it liked it
What an inspiring look at the food we eat (or should eat), how we cook it (or should/should not cook it), and what we do with it (or should do with it!).

Katz pulled me in so effectively I didn't even question the segment at the end in which he describes the empowerment derived from cleaning up yours and your companions' shit from your environmentally friendly outhouse, or for that matter, the chapter on roadkill.

This book gave me the push I needed to invest in a cow share, and I can now drink MI
Jay Grossman
Jul 21, 2014 Jay Grossman rated it it was amazing
Great insight, not outdated at all as it describes the "underground" food movement, which is more mainstream than when the author penned this book.
I believe the author touches upon many topics that strike serious concern in the conventional way we get our food. Examples include seed procurement, pesticides, raw milk, bottled water, fermentation (upon which the author is written successfully about elsewhere). The author is passionate about his subject material and this stands out in a somewhat mo
Ben Copeland
Apr 25, 2014 Ben Copeland rated it really liked it
Food politics. This book will only be enjoyable to those who are aware of and opposed to the FDA and mega-corporation-controlled food culture of America. Even if you are remotely interested in eating unprocessed foods, or in avoiding chemicals in food, this will be a good read.

Katz covers everything from ludicrous food laws that make the sale of natural locally-prepared food illegal, to the effects of our grocery system on underpaid pregnant women (and their unborn children) working in the chemi
Jun 23, 2010 Carlie rated it it was ok
Ugh. I really wish I liked this book more. It has such a great title, I love the subject and the cover is brilliantly designed. Unfortunately for Sandor Ellix Katz (what a bizarre name!) the writing itself is tired and uninspired. We all know about all the things he's re-hashing (farmer's markets are good, local produce is better, etc.) I was hoping to learn about some of the really underground underground food stuff. The things that aren't radio talk show buzzwords at the moment. Meh. Oh well. ...more
Feb 06, 2010 Mizzo73 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: new-leaf
Don't read this book before bed - it makes you so inflamed about seed companies, factory farming and government control of what we can eat! After the first few chapters I realised it was best for health if I read it in the morning so I could rant and rave to workmates, flatmates and anyone that would listen. The author provides a recipe or something to try at the end of each chapter as a solution to each issue. As a vego I'm not going to embrace feasting on roadkill, and I don't really want to e ...more
Mar 15, 2009 Andrew rated it it was amazing
This book has chapters on all the different food things I've been into in the last few years - local food, sustainable food, healthy food, slow food, raw food, dumpster food, etc. I'm excited to get into it. It seems a bit slow and I'm worried that it won't have much depth on the topics, but it seems to have great lists of resources for more info.

I'll let you know how it goes!

UPDATE: I have continued reading this book because of the great information in it. I missed Sandorkraut (as the author is
Dec 22, 2007 Mat rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: most people
i just love Sandorkraut/fag Elix Katz. This book was easy to read and it has really helped clarify my feelings about food and what i actually want to do to react to politics surrounding the food we eat. I loved this book because it is not heavy handed or dogmatic at all, and Sandy's funny quirks shine through (he brings in all these cute side issues in the process of mentioning some friend and their gardening project). Very anecdotal, puts together things i already knew in new ways and simultane ...more
jessi lee
Mar 05, 2008 jessi lee rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: you.
I loved the content of this book, but even more, I loved the style. it's conversational & incredibly well informed at the same time, and I really liked the way that Sandy put himself into his writing, including little clips about his life. i would like to be able to write with this same style--simple, understandable, casual, queer, political, beautiful at times.

my favorite part, which made me laugh out loud, was his casual mention of the possible recreational use of beating people with nettl
Oct 18, 2007 Tyne rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This amazing book offers a comprehensive look at the grassroots sustainable food movement. Katz explains the dangers of trusting our food supply to transnational profit-driven corporations, then shows us the ways in which people are working to reclaim traditional food production.

Topics include small farms, "slow" food, seed saving, raw milk, common space, and natural healing. Each chapter is followed by a list of action and information resources, with a section each for books, films, and organi
Mar 17, 2014 Beth rated it liked it
I was nodding in agreement along with most of this book. It is well cited and this type of food related activism is right up my alley.I do have to say there were a few parts that I didn't feel in line with. 1) I am not eating dirt. You have lost your fool mind trying to tell people that eating dirt is good for them, just watch out for your teeth. 2) You can keep your Casu Marzu cheese. I'm not eating anything that has maggots on it. 3) When I become intoxicated from drinking mead we didn't call ...more
Aug 13, 2008 Joe rated it really liked it
Ah, Sandor! The wonderful man behind Wild Fermentation takes a look at the cultural and social fermentation that is modern grassroots food politics. Probably the definitive book on the topic, Sandor draws on vast experience, travel, and a love of people and food to paint a picture of the people that are working to reclaim quality, simple food from the corporations to all of us. It can be a little depressing at time, but Sandor does a good job of giving lots of practical advice, tips, and fun thi ...more
Nov 25, 2009 Anna rated it it was amazing
His book 'Wild Fermentation' is awesome, and taught me how to make yogurt and sauerkraut. This one is just as friendly, but provocative as well. Another book to question the ethical/environmental vegetarian's commitment in the face of local, humane, sustainably integrated animal products. Really enjoyed it, and found his tone appropriately strident without crossing the line into dogmatism. Nice personal anecdotes, but not too much self-congratulation. Lots of practical information and how-to as ...more
Oct 27, 2014 Kristin rated it really liked it
The author manages to seamlessly include topics as varied as roadkill menus, native land rights, and cow shares in an inspiring and enlightening book for the food activist in all of us. I'm always surprised, yet refreshed, to hear from Sandor Ellix Katz about how far ordinary people are willing to go in their commitment to more sustainable eating. Good writing, good editing, passionate but not too preachy.
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My name is Sandor Ellix Katz, and I am a fermentation revivalist.
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