Wasn't enthusiastic about this book, lukewarm after first 30 or so pages, but it became a fabulous 2-plot page turner that I couldn't put down. It is a novel but felt "real" to me, possibly because much of it is seen through the eyes of a Japanese-American woman who is producing a documentary ("The American Wife") for Japanese TV. In the course of the book she learns many of the ugly secrets of the meat industry. Each segment features a family and the wife's cooking of some kind of meat. The characters are hilarious and the main character is dogged by the Japanese representative of the sponsor, a large meat company. Their conflicts also make for humor as cultural differences regarding status and women are portrayed. The second plot revolves around the Japanese guy's shy, unhappy and abused wife.
There is a lot of disturbing information about legal and illegal drug use in raising and fattening cattle, the search for cheaper feeds made from recycled material, and the effects on land and climate of overgrazing and clearing of new lands in other countries to support the global demand for meat.