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Portrait of A Burger: The True Story of One Man, Two Cows, and the Feeding of a Nation / Peter Lovenheim.

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  144 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Four years ago, journalist Peter Lovenheim was standing in a long line at McDonald’s to buy a Happy Meal for his little daughter, which would come with a much-desired Teenie Beanie Baby—either a black-and-white cow named “Daisy” or an adorable red bull named “Snort.” Finding it rather strange that young children were being offered cuddly toy cows one minute and eating the ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 16th 2002 by Crown Publications (first published 2002)
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Jul 30, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, if you're a bleeding-heart vegan like I am, you might find yourself a sloppy crying mess throughout the final chapter of this book, clutching your pet cat to your metaphorically bloody bosom as you read the description of a cow being killed at a small slaughterhouse and wonder what will happen to Lovenheim's two calves.

To backtrack... this book is about what happens when Loveinheim decides to investigate where the meat he eats (specifically, his McDonald's burger) comes from and watch the l
Oct 28, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read, but as others have pointed out, it focuses a lot on the farmers. It was still nice, but I wanted Lovenheim to get into the cows and ethics of it all. He was very objective, which at some times was beneficial. I wanted to hear his feelings on it more though.

I also thought it was a bit misleading. The idea sprung from a trip to McD's, but he follows calves from a small dairy farm, not an industrial farming operation. The slaughterhouse he visits is also small and run completely
Catherine Kelaher
I got this book out from the library not knowing quite what to expect. All I knew was that this book would tell me more about the meat and dairy industry and it would be from the point of view of someone who is not an animal rights activist, a vegan or even a vegetarian.
Despite being written from a carnist's point of view this book was very telling for me. It shows how many dairy calves end up in hamburgers and the process of how they get there. The book focuses on ‘good’ farmers, ‘good’ slaught
Devin Bruce
Sep 19, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: city folk, carnivores, and the curious
Shelves: non-fiction, library
This isn’t the kind of book I’d usually read. In fact, the reason I read it at all is because of successful packaging. The title caught my eye as I went past the spine on the library shelf, and that made me pick it up. The rear blurb sealed the deal. Intrigued by the seemingly disparate notion of McDonald’s giving out a bull and cow Beanie Baby toy with the purchase of a happy meal, author Peter Lovenheim sets out to chronicle the life of a cow, as he says, “from conception to consumption”. Thro ...more
Nov 13, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

Interesting, a little disappointing.

I learned a lot of fascinating and horrifying things about the meat industry, but I feel like Lovenheim was holding out on me.

For one thing, he comes across as very pro-farmer. Ok. I get it. These folks just need to earn a living, and as people, they're good people. But they're also part of a system that, I think even in 2002 when this book was written, was generally acknowledged to not be a perfect system.

Yet rBST gets a couple of cursory grafs. "Some pe
Jul 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I really enjoyed this book. It was written before the whole local food movement, and it's really well researched and quite well done. The author, Peter Lovenheim, is a city guy who gets curious and wants to learn more about where his food comes from. So he buys two dairy calves (beef have a long life cycle) and watches them as they are raised for beef. (It's hard for me to write about this book without slipping into farming jargon and writing like I'm writing for work)

Anyway, Lovenheim also spen
Sep 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not a typical gruesome animal rights sort of book. Rather, it is less political and more philosophical. A delightful read, actually: well written, absorbing, fascinating. The author is the sort of guy you'd love to have come over for dinner and talk about his ideas. Very much unlike the rash of anti-McDonalds reads out there. A unique book that I highly recommend. Maybe I should have given it a 5 star?
Oct 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Loved this book! It really changed how I think about food and the people who work so hard to produce it. What I especially liked about the book is that Lovenheim reveals so much affection and respect for the people who work so hard to raise the animals that feed our nation. He is never strident or judgemental about the farmers, veterinarians, and others who work in food industries that require tough--even seemingly cruel--choices everyday.
Nov 27, 2008 is currently reading it
I bought this book when I went to visit Brown in 2002 because I was just getting into reading about the food industry and I had just finished Fast Food Nation. It sat on my shelf for so long and always made me feel guilty. Now I'm slowly making my way through it. It's style is a bit repetitive, though it has nuggets of insight into the dairy cow beef industry, which is something I knew little about. I'll report in later.
Anna Wilson
Jul 05, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-politics
Besides having a very clever title, this book is a great, balanced look at the cattle industry through the lifecycle of a cow that the author purchases. He makes interesting comments on the results of completely compartmentalizing our food supply, so much so that no one thinks it's weird when McDonalds hands out little cow shaped Beanie Babies with their Happy Meals.
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