Amy's Reviews > The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table

The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan
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Apr 14, 2012

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bookshelves: food-cooking

Class is the big theme here. The incredible hard scrabble of minimum wage (if you're lucky) work. For each undercover job, the author had a hard time paying rent and feeding herself. A holiday cookie-exchange party 30 miles away creates financial hardship because of all the eggs and butter, and the gas to drive there. Her budget issues were stressful to read about, but she balanced them with portrayals of some really kind, generous co-workers and roommates.

As far as food goes, I learned a lot about distribution systems. Otherwise, not much new. Walmart is a market behemoth; your local Applebee's assembles rather than actually cooks food; agricultural workers in Central Valley get taken advantage of. No surprises there.

Surprises: (1) It's not clear what's so convenient about convenience foods if dinner takes on average 52 minutes to prepare no matter what. (2) Urban gardening is big in Detroit. (3) Produce can be sprayed with unpronounceable chemical-sounding stuff and still be labeled "organic."

Mostly I'm left feeling sad that for so many people in such a wealthy country, a good fresh tomato is a luxury, a pineapple is a once-a-year event, and the cantaloupe lugged home from the supercenter just tastes like water. Are things better in Europe or Japan or South Korea?
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Lukey If you haven't read Omnivore's Dilemma, it sounds like it would be a good companion to this one. It is an extremely interesting read that follows the different food channels. You may want to check it out.


message 2: by Amy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy Teresa wrote: "If you haven't read Omnivore's Dilemma, it sounds like it would be a good companion to this one. It is an extremely interesting read that follows the different food channels. You may want to chec..."

Thanks!


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