Tracey's Reviews > Kitchen Literacy: How We Lost Knowledge of Where Food Comes from and Why We Need to Get It Back

Kitchen Literacy by Ann Vileisis
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's review
Dec 28, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: libraryread-tcpl
Read from May 13 to 29, 2011

Not sure where I found out about this book, but the title & subtitle was intriguing enough to make it worth checking out from the library.

Vilesis takes her readers back to the late 1700's to show how we as individuals have moved from being intimately familiar with the food we eat - growing, harvesting, tending and slaughtering nearly every foodstuff, to the modern, processed, advertising-driven industry.

Along the way we read excerpts from an 18th century farmwife, discuss how sugar became one of the first non-native foodstuffs the average person ate in any quantity (discounting spices). Vilesis examines the development of cookbooks and how they become more complex and precise as domestic servants become more common (85% of US households in 1860) and the housewife took a more supervisory role in choosing and preparing food.
She also explains how canning food required labeling - therefore leading to the advertising industry. Oleomargarine and maraschino cherries are presented as manufactured food and how we now tend to "eat with the eyes" - allowing the visual appearance of food to override the taste and nutrition aspects.

This book covers some of the same ground as The Omnivore's Dilemma and the like, but I still found it a worthwhile read and learned some new tidbits along the way.


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Reading Progress

05/13/2011 page 100
19.0% "Enjoyed examination of Martha's diary"

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