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Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World
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Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  133 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Where has all the good food gone? This is the question at the heart of Gina Mallet's provocative and evocative account of the fate of food. Over the course of the last 50 years, we have gone from loving food to fearing it. We have become frightened by food science and spooked by medical doctors, and so old familiar foods and recipes - the threads of community - are being l ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 7th 2005 by Mainstream Publishing (first published 2004)
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Average rating 3.44  · 
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 ·  133 ratings  ·  27 reviews


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Marc Lucke
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
The best parts of this book were the mouth-watering recipes interspersed between the prose, and I've happily added several to my repertoire.

That having been said, I couldn't bring myself to read the entire thing: about two-thirds of the way through, I tossed the book aside. Mallet's pretension, crotchetiness and misty-eyed sentimentalism combined to turn me off whatever vague thesis she was chasing through her meandering memories and whimpered protests against modernity.

I'm no cheerleader for in
...more
Rachel Terry
Dec 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, food
I'm not sure how to categorize this book. It's part memoir, part investigative journalism, part nostalgia, with a handful of recipes, sprinkled here and there like party favors. Mallet divides the book into five sections: eggs, cheese, beef, kitchen gardens, and fish. I liked the egg section best and the beef section least. The focus of this book is taste--not health, economics, or environmentalism--and I found the focus refreshing. There's no guilt involved when you're only concerned about what ...more
Ms. Wendy Burleson
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Light and fun read for foodies - sprinkled with memoir-style anecdotes of food and cooking, a few recipes, and insights about the demise of quality in produce, meat, and poultry. Made me want to be a more selective shopper and supporter of local products, and pay more attention to ingredients and cooking techniques.
Erika
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food, history
I loved this book.

This book is sort of a combination of Fast Food Nation and The Omnivores Dilemma in that it looks at what our food consumptions and production used to be and now is, but it also mixes in a wonderful personal account as the author looks at this from her personal experience growing up in pre-WWII England and her experiences there to moving to America and how things have changed over the years.

It not only looks again at the unhealthy and unsustainable practices we now employ in ou
...more
Sharen
May 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Gina Mallet combines personal vignettes of family life in England during WWII (including recipes) with research about the ways in which government, science and business have DISTANCED us from the choices we make about the food we eat. You don't realize how great that distance is until you have read how eggs, cheese, meat, vegetables, fruits and fish have been "manipulated" in various ways at different times. It is interesting how she combines the history of food and chefs with information that w ...more
Jason
Nov 26, 2009 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. I enjoyed how the author remeniced about the foods of her youth, her growing up in post war London and her tomatoes in Canada. I liked how for each character (food) she presented personal experiences and emotions surrounding her feelings toward these foods. I remeber the part about the date at the steakhouse and the perfect omlette in France. As a matter of fact I have perfected my perfect, SIMPLE omlette as per her recommendations. I however DO NOT get the cover image chos ...more
JH
Jan 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Overall a very good representation of the fact that most Americans and Europeans are content to let the old and traditional dishes and ingredients go by the way side in preference to cheaper and faster food. The arguments are the same as Jeffrey Steingarten made in It must have been something I ate, unfortunately the author has nothing more to say than the fact that things are slipping away. ...more
Dale
Sep 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2012
It took me several attempts to get through this book. I persevered because it was so hyped. I should have trusted my instincts. I would be interested to understand what the author was trying to accomplish. Yes, food has changed, been industrialized... sometimes the details were too deep, and others not deep enough. I couldn't follow if Gina Mallet is a fan of GM or not - some of the book seemed muddled, and some of it not that interesting, and not one recipe that I thought mmm. Maybe it's a cult ...more
Felicity
Dec 09, 2008 rated it did not like it
It's a little unfair to say that I read this book. But I did try. But I couldn't make it any further than about forty pages into the book. Mallet writes one hundred pages on the history of the egg!! If the first forty are any indication, I don't expect the next sixty to be any more interesting. I mean, just how do you make the history of the egg exciting? I don't deny it isn't possible, but Mallet is clearly not the author to do it (with apologies to those who enjoyed this book).

Life is just too
...more
Krisette Spangler
Dec 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Gina Mallet's book follows five popular foods from the Second World War to our present day. She laments the loss of taste that has occurred through mass production, and the American desire to have it fast rather than good. I wasn't really expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. I found it rather fascinating, and it made me very hungry for the good food I ate while I was in Europe. Thanks for the recommendation, Rachel.

...more
Janet
Aug 19, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Janet by: Raina
Very compelling and thought-provoking. The first section of the book was about the humble chicken egg and its gastronomic origins. I enjoyed this book - there's a healthy smattering of history along with the author's food-related observations and experiences. ...more
LizG
Nov 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating, delightful, and easy to read history of the transition of food from an adventure to savour and share to a barely nutritious, functional fuel. Makes you wonder, "Did eggs used to have a taste?" and "What does real cheese taste like?" ...more
Marilee
Jun 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Betsy Tebeau
Recommended to Marilee by: Nina Planck
Interesting and informative memoir shaped around the author's childhood memories of food. She argues that industrial food, for the most part, is devoid of taste and often not healthier than traditional foods, just more stable. ...more
Ariadream
Jun 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: foodbooks
This book is an interesting departure from most books about food. It reads almost like a story, with tales of the author's own childhood experiences and contrasting them to how things are now. And she makes interesting points. All in all, it was a very good read and I would recommend it. ...more
Mary Karpel-Jergic
Apr 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food, memoir
I love food. God food. I love cooking. Loved this book! Due a re-read.
Niki
Jul 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Lots of entertaining anecdotes & interesting histories.
Denise
Not a cookbook per se, a book on food
Msmod Hautly
Jan 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Some great examples to underscore the industrialization of our food and the fallout.
Natashya KitchenPuppies
Sometimes interesting, sometimes rambling. Facts, opinion and memoir all rolled into one.
Hazel
Jul 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in good tasting food
Shelves: food
An interesting read about how the quality and taste of food has changed in our modern society. She includes some timeless recipes.
ZFC
Jan 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Francocentric, but very informative.

See our review in Episode 18 -
http://zweifatchicks.podbean.com/2009...
...more
Christine Cato
Sep 03, 2009 rated it liked it
This book was interesting for a while, a little bit of a different spin as the author grew up in London. But after a while it became tedious, and it was due back to the library, so I let it go.
Meredith
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining and informative book.
G--
Sep 27, 2008 rated it liked it
An aristocrat's take on how all of the taste was stolen from our food. ...more
Gerald Kinro
Dec 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Eat "real food" before they disappear. ...more
Madeleine Hutchins
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Enjoyable, but oddly wavers between being thoughtful and thorough to a pure airing of grievances.
Rogue Reader
Nov 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-writing
Delicious and somewhat frightening history of food and eating - from British wartime shortages to contemporary American supermarkets and artisan dining. Mallet holds that food and eating are central to civilization and exposes some of the myths that have made the community of food so impersonal, and in some cases dangerous. Particularly appreciate EGGS and CHICKENS! history, recipes, health fears and facts. Similar in content but not tone to Fast Food Nation and Super Size Me.

--Ashland Myster
...more
Meredith
rated it liked it
May 12, 2009
LAErin
rated it it was amazing
Sep 13, 2013
Sharlene
rated it really liked it
Sep 25, 2007
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