Happyreader's Reviews > Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal

Waste by Tristram Stuart
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Apr 01, 10

bookshelves: food-and-drink, health-and-diet, history-politics, progressive-thinking, science
Read in April, 2010

My God!!! The sheer magnitude of the waste and its environmental impact is astounding!!! Makes me want to go into food systems work. From the supermarkets to the food manufacturers to the restaurants and consumers, so much waste all along the system. And every time food is thrown out, it's not just the food that's wasted, it's all the forests that were sacrificed for extra farm land, all the fossil fuels that were consumed to farm and transport the food, all the manpower, and other resources that are also wasted in addition to the added burden on our landfills and the decreased access to that food by other markets.

What depressed me the most was the incredible waste of fish and farm animals, the inability of developing countries to properly store crops, and the perfectly edible food being thrown out rather than being feed to people needing food.

What I loved was the chapter on swill and pigs (now I want to raise pigs à la Farm City)and the generosity and thriftiness of the Japanese family who feed him a gourmet meal that was multi-coursed, abundant and not wasteful (very mottainai).

One caution on this book is that a good deal of the examples are British and European and even the author concedes that US food waste issues are different from European food waste issues. For instance, he acknowledges that US supermarkets have better redistribution systems than UK supermarkets - yet we have a huge problem with wasteful supersized restaurant portions. I was uncomfortable when he talked about eating all your food. Some of my obese patients justify overeating by saying they don't want to waste food and I contend that it's just as wasteful to eat more than you need. He does discuss how the US food supply is approximately 3,900 calories/person while the world average is 2,800 calories/person.

Nominated for 2010 Food Writing awards by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) and the James Beard Foundation, which are awarded in May. I hope the book wins and gains more US recognition.
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