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The Way We Eat Now

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  1,468 ratings  ·  222 reviews
An award-winning food writer takes us on a global tour of what the world eats - and shows us how we can change it for the better. The book is a scholarly, but readable exploration of the hidden forces behind what we eat. The author explains how this food revolution has transformed our bodies, our social lives, and the world we live in.
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published March 21st 2019 by Fourth Estate
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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 ·  1,468 ratings  ·  222 reviews

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Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, recs
"The same food that has rescued us from hunger is also killing us." ...more
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books about food and eating I've read. The Way We Eat Now describes our relationship with food in detail, but not in a preachy kind of way. This book is very informative, I've learned a lot of new things about food. The writing style is accessible for a lot of people, and it's easy to read even though you're not very knowledgeable of the topics discussed. I think this is an important book and I hope many people pick it up.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC to rea
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Way We Eat Now by Bee Wilson is an insightful and astonishing book about our present-day eating habits.

“The story of modern cooking is not a simple tale of decline but a more complex and hopeful one. When we say that ‘no one cooks any more’ we often have in mind a particular version of home cooking that depended on women being confined to a life of unpaid labour. By contrast, the new cooking of our times is done by a wider range of people in a wider range of ways.”(284)

When I was abou
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice survey of the State of Food in the world. Most of the news is bad, of course, and always will be with Big Food (read: corporations) in charge. Monoculture has crept in, erasing many of the lines separating various food cultures, and monoculture is laced with sugar and processed oils and flashy marketing and cheap, genetically-modified wheat and soy and so forth.

Bottom line: In some ways we have way, way more choices than our grandparents did, food-wise, but in other ways they ate healthie
May 19, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-and-foodoir
More like 2.5. This feels scoldy, even when I agree with many of her points (but not all...what's with this war on snacks?!) There's a lot of repetition and a bit too much opinion - in a long polemic against bananas in their typical form today (the Cavendish), the author mentions six or seven times how flavorless or bland or bad tasting they are. It's weird. If you don't like bananas, don't buy or eat them. But she does. She just also complains that they're not delicious.

I get where it's all com
TS Chan
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Review copy received from the publisher, HarperCollins, in exchange for an honest review.

Informative and insightful, The Way We Eat Now should be read by pretty much anyone who wants to take charge of their eating norms, or habits. This was an easy and interesting read which did not come across as being preachy and judgmental. I really think all of us can do with having a bit more awareness of the food we consume, the rapid and oftentimes adverse changes wrought by the huge (processed) food indu
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bee Wilson has a way with words and manages here to get across an important concept that is not earth shattering to anyone involved in public health but is diametrically opposed to what one hears all the time about obesity: namely that weight is simply a question of individual willpower to eat less and move more. Wilson illustrates how absurd that is in the context of massive global forces affecting what we eat.
In terms of what to do, she points to some international stories of success or promi
May 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a very good book on a topic that I've read a lot about. I learned a lot from it because Wilson travels the world and talks to many experts about the commodification of food and the way our work lives have changed the way we have meals. That's the brilliance of the book--it's not just about the food, but the time we spend eating and the culture around meals that is the focus and all those things end up affecting our relationship to food and to our families. ...more
Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
My response to this analysis of contemporary diet and food culture was...underwhelming, but to some extent that’s due to my familiarity with many of the studies and trends that Bee Wilson covers. If you’re at all interested in these issues it’s likely you’ve heard it all before.
Jan 13, 2021 added it
Shelves: non-fiction
Putting this aside unfinished. Whilst many of the points and issues Wilson raises are pertinent and interesting, a lot of words have been used to say very little; so much of the first section feels repetitive, accompanied by a bit of stating-the-bleeding-obvious. The author is a food writer and journalist (rather than a nutritionalist), and something about the way this is written isn't sitting right with me - other reviewers have described her tone as scolding and I think that's a fair assessmen ...more
Viv JM
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is a fascinating, engaging and unsentimental account of both what we eat and how we eat and the impact this has had on our lives and on the larger society. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book! Anyone who is concerned about wellness, weight gain, or the environment needs to read this book. Bee Wilson has done a marvelous and comprehensive study of the vast changes in how we eat during the last thirty or so years. She covers it all - grocery stores, vegetable vs. meat consumption, advertising and marketing of food, the new boxed meal kits, and why all these changes took place in the years after WWII.

An excellent book, strongly and highly recommended. The author is a t
Jun 29, 2019 rated it liked it
If you love food writing and are interested in global food issues much of this information will be familiar. I am sure Bee Wilson could teach a great food history class, she is knowledgeable and invested in her subject, but unfortunately on occasion had to pinch myself to stay awake.
ash c
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: food, non-fiction
Bee Wilson writes about our decisions around food, the food industry, and consumerism in The Way We Eat Now. Wilson talks to consumers, experts, businesses, and discusses the research, history, and philosophy behind phenomenons that are hot topics nowadays: health, dieting, eating disorders, cooking, quality of food, and more.

I found her book to be an enjoyable read but underdeveloped on many fronts, which is a shame. As this is my first foray into reading about food, I read a bunch of other goo
Mar 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health, non-fiction
I'm not quite sure why I'm giving this 5 stars. Normally it would be 4, but I think the messages that author highlighted are ones that need to be heard, plus I'd read this one again. And again, I'm not sure why I'd do that, but I know I would.

So with that bit of waffling, I'll begin my review. I listened to the audio and I really enjoyed it. The author did her own narration and it was well done with little voice drama. She tended to romanticize the eating habits of yesteryear and dabbled a lot
Brian Hagerty

I picked this up after reading an Atlantic article discussing it and a few related titles. I was disappointed, mostly because Wilson's comments about how we should eat are uninformed. This book is really just an extended opinion piece rather than an evidence-based assessment of what is wrong with our food system and our diets. To be fair, Wilson isn't a nutritionist and doesn't pretend to be, and her goal is to make sweeping statements about the global food system. And she does helpfully point o

Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not a recipes book or a diet one, is an interesting survey on what we eat now, and why and mostly it explains why in less than 100 years our eating habits changed so much. I really appreciate the way the author handles the researches and the results without saying what should be better and why, I mean she does it also, but she doesn't do that hiding between the results that she chose to put forward her theory, which is something that usually happens whenever we read about food and all th ...more
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic book that should be used to teach everyone the problem food manufacturing has on health and environment. To the reviewers who think the author is too judgmental - suck it up. Her facts are supported by the evidence she provides. She thoroughly outlines the paradox of a world with people eating so much more yet are so much less healthy for it. The quantity of salt, sugar, and fat in nonfoods marketed as food is killing people. She ends the book on a hopeful note with examples ...more
Petra eXpertly navigates ignoring Monday
What I wanted was a book on what we eat now, the different foods, different preparations, how we eat - on the sofa, in the street, restaurants etc, what is changing and how food and eating are developing. But this is not that book. This book is about how food all over the world is the same, how it is somehow unnatural and regrettable that we can eat pizza anywhere instead of just Naples, how Chinese food is ubiquitous and everyone snacks too much.

It is about the lost golden world of yesterday wh
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: health-wellbeing
There's an excerpt at the back cover that reads "this book should be required reading for everyone." I couldn't agree more. Such a thought-provoking book that deals with a universal act played out every single minute somewhere in the world, and yet not many of us realise the forces behind it. The Way We Eat Now highlights some key moments in the food transition with plenty of examples and research and backed by scientific evidence without ever sounding formal or academic of even preach-y. If you ...more
Lucy Croker
Jan 25, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting overview of modern diets and eating habits. As I have already read quite a lot on this subject a lot of the information was quite familiar, especially in the first few chapters. However there were some interesting topics brought up and points covered which I hadn't considered before which made this well worth reading. The discussions around liquid meal replacements, Tasty videos and the ubiquity of protein bars felt particularly fresh and relevant. What I really liked abo ...more
Dominic Carlin
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Like every other person’s review of The Way We Eat Now, this review will begin with a discussion of my own eating habits. Put bluntly, they’ve changed substantially over the last 10 … scratch that, 5 … scratch that 2 years. 10 years ago, I couldn’t cook, I ate curries and whatever my dad cooked. 5 years ago I began to develop a new palate, eating various cuisines from around the world. 2 years ago, I read Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat and, like the science-mad cliche that I am, began to actually cook we ...more
Jun 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What a brilliant book! I loved that way it looked at food in a social, economic and personal way. I enjoyed every single page of this book and it taught me so much about our current eating habits and ways things have gone awry in society with food and nutrition. 5*
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book but I think this might be a situation where I’m too invested and knowledgeable about the subject to enjoy this. Most of the stories in this book I had already heard in different food podcasts. The suggestions for how to improve our relationship to food I’ve already integrated into my life, or I don’t think they’re for me.

I think the struggle is the dichotomy between the fact that I think Wilson wants to take a strong stance on how people should be eating and liv
Jenny Chase
May 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
I gave up on this about halfway through, because it was more polemic than informative for someone who is basically interested in food. There are a few nuggets - like the idea that the original sort of banana tasted much better than the modern Cavendish - but it is horribly padded. A low point was taking 5 pages to explain repeatedly that our satiety response doesn't seem to react to liquids.

There are also a few lines that might actually have gone in interesting directions - eg the throwaway ide
Nov 17, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a good read on how the shifts in food production have shaped the way humans eat across cultures. The way we eat today is incredibly far removed from the way our ancestors eat, and the influence of multinationals on the types of food that are accessible and affordable to different socio-economic demographics cannot be understated.

However, be cautious if you've struggled with disordered eating or eating disorders. While the author claims that they don't agree with the moralizing of food,
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
An insightful and engrossing read for anyone interested in food, food culture and the sustainability of how it is produced and consumed. Bee Wilson has thoroughly researched this subject and some of the points she makes are quite jaw-dropping. We are now a very time-poor (or lazy) society that prioritises ease instant gratification and choice over sustainability and long-term health and prosperity and this has made us, despite living in an era of great abundance (which is not, as the book also g ...more
Aug 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help
A lot of valuable insights, but nothing new if you have read books on this topic before.
The epilogue:
1. Eat new food on old plates,
2.Don't drink anything that is "like water" unless it is water,
3.Devote less attention to snacks and more to meals,
4. Change your appetites (learn to appreciate new foods, not just high sugar+fat+salt processed foods),
5. Shift the balance (i.e. don't aim for extreme exculsions, but gentle shifts),
6. Try to eat in ratios, not in absolutes,
7. Eat proteins and vegetable
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has been enlightening. I've audibly exclaimed a few times and forced Richard to stop what he's reading/doing and listen while I read bits to him. There is a great final chapter with tips for change in it as well.

As a result of reading this I've had my first try at making my own granola - then I have one meal that I can know exactly what has gone into it.

I'm fortunate enough to live in a city full of good food options and variety so making some changes is possible quite easily. I recognise
Jan Peregrine
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Bee Wilson's 2019 book The Way We Eat Now: How the Food Revolution Has Changed Our Lives, Our Bodies and Our World explores how diets around the world have been dominated by the food industry's primary goal of providing quantity of food over quality. She points out that this has devalued the nutrition value of food while promoting the entertainment value of food.

Wilson talked with scores of growers, chefs, scientists, and food distributors and industry people, making this book her most ambitious
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Beatrice Dorothy "Bee" Wilson (born 7 March 1974, Oxford) is a British food writer and historian. Wilson is married to the political scientist David Runciman and lives in Cambridge. The daughter of A.N. Wilson and the Shakespearean scholar Katherine Duncan-Jones, her sister is Emily Wilson, a Classicist at the University of Pennsylvania. ...more

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47 likes · 19 comments
“When we say we are lacking in the time to eat well, what we often mean is that we lack synchronised time to eat. Our days and weeks are broken up with constant interruptions and meals are no longer taken communally and in unison, but are a cacophony of individual collations snatched here and there, with no company but the voices in our headphones. Many of us, to our own annoyance, are trapped in routines in which eating well seems all but impossible. Yet this is partly because we live in a world that places a higher premium on time than it does on food.” 3 likes
“We speak of having better food choices, but for the most part, we eat the foods that food companies want to sell us.” 1 likes
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