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The Way We Eat Now

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  244 ratings  ·  46 reviews

‘At no point in history have edible items been so easy to obtain. Humans have always gone out and gathered food, but never before has it been so simple for us to gather anything we want, whenever and wherever we want it, from sachets of squid ink to strawberries in winter.’

‘It’s now becoming clear that the way that most people currently eat is not sustainable – either f

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Paperback, 400 pages
Published April 2nd 2019 by 4th Estate - GB
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4.09  · 
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 ·  244 ratings  ·  46 reviews


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Luca
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 about tw
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Max
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Ken
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
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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.
Cynthia
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
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Ren
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
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GONZA
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
Debbi
Jun 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Philippa
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jane
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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Andy
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
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Jordan
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I think Wilson does a fantastic job of being conversational and understandable but still being knowledgeable and citing her sources. It’s a hard balance to strike sometimes. I think she does a particularly good job of showing that obesity isn’t the willpower problem that society often tries to pass it off as. It’s so many other things in your environment that influence your food options and choices.
Margaret
Interesting information, a little preachy at times
Rebecca
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bee Wilson is an author of several other why/how we eat books. Here, she systematically documents the global trends that have shaped how we eat, from the not so good (too much ultra processed food with resulting obesity and related ill-health) and some good (reclaiming a love of cooking, expansion of availability of local foods). I was surprised about the lists of countries with the healthiest diet patterns. I enjoyed the discussion how the timing of eating in different groups affects their over ...more
Emanuel
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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

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Jenny Chase
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
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Rita
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Our food system is currently full of mismatches. Some of these mismatches are cultural, as we fail to adapt to the new realities of eating in a age of abundance. Our food culture remains too mysty-eyed about sugary food, for example. We haven’t adjust to the fact that sugar is no longer a rare and and special celebration food, worthy of devotion. Nor have we yet modified our attitudes towards those who are overweight and obese, to reflect the fact that these people are now in the majority.” (pp ...more
Cara M
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well written and interesting book, like all of her books. A indictment of transnational capitalism for sure. (It is really clear that there is no such thing as a capitalist country, there are only countries where capitalism thrives. Like any invasive weed, eventually it will destroy the nation-state it purportedly belongs to.)
There was a lot of overlap with First Bite, as really is expected, since both are about the food culture of today, but they also had different information. I was interest
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Math Yoda
The book contains a lot of general knowledge that you already know about but that you put it at the back of your head. It’s like there’s a kid in some chasm in your mind hiding that when you read the book it’s like a gate has been opened and you’re like “oh there’s a kid! I knew there was one somewhere here” d’yall get it? It’s like you know it all along and this book just reminds you of it. It’s such a very comparative study of the then and now. I mean we get it from the title that basically th ...more
Kate
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Woo! Bee Wilson is my GIRL. Kickstarted by dating a decade long vegan boi, I have been much more interested in why I eat what I eat, how food impacts us culturally, socioeconomically, and physically.

As someone who pretty much vacuum inhaled a bowl of popcorn while 3 episodes into the new season of Queer Eye last night, I clearly don't have the best eating habits all the time. I enjoyed how Wilson talks about how food changes have rapidly occurred over the last few decades and the implications o
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Jennie
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-politics
An interesting read, but somehow also a bit offputting. I haven't read Bee Wilson's books before, but somehow, though she repeatedly says she's not putting blame on individuals for obesity, the book as a whole comes across as being judgmental. I can't quite put a finger on how; just some of the turns of phrase, I suppose. The bit about eating off of smaller plates at the end is such classic weight loss advice I rolled my eyes a bit.

With that said, it is an interesting exploration of what we eat,
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Rebecca
I really hoped this book would be more readable like Consider the Fork. Unfortunately, it is a very dense non-fiction and reads more like a thesis. I skimmed it thru anyway to get some of the more salient points from the book.

Fads like Pomegranate and Coconut create a world shortage and cheating shortcuts. Much of the food we produce today has been genetically altered and often times chemically altered as well. The hurried lunch hour does our bodies no favors. What's up with food shakes/drinks/
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Lori Kincaid Rassati
This is the natural progression of books which tell us what is so messed up about the typical Western diet and how that dysfunction is spreading across the world. Wilson does a great job, though, of giving hope about our diets and giving us grace to not beat ourselves up if we can't cook and feed our families the way that our grandmothers did. She seems bent on giving us permission, if you will, to keep what worked in the past along with what works today while discarding those things which don't ...more
Tom Brennan
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I appreciate the insight and the balance of Wilson's work. The balance is seen in her writing - she addresses a wide range of topics and subjects in relation to food - but it is seen in her philosophy of food - a sound rejection of fad diets, super foods, and other silver food bullets. Her insight is seen as she exposes how radically different we eat today from how we used to eat, how that is changing us, and how we in turn can change that.

This is a not a knee-jerk, reactionary, liberal, hippie,
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Stacie
DNF

Guess I've been more immersed in the food science/nutrition world than I thought because this book wasn't presenting any ideas I haven't heard before (some of which felt more opinion based than on facts tbh). Based on what I've read so far, I really don't think I'll get much out of this one. I'm always happy when people take steps to be more aware of the world around them, so I'm glad some folks were able to get something out of this read. Unfortunately, it just didn't match up to what I was
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Joana
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was very interesting and comprehensive. As many other reviewers pointed out it is also not accusatory or shaming (unless you're a company trying to sell us unhealthy processed food), but helpful and respectful of different context. In my opinion, it could perhaps do with a little extra editing as it was very long and things tended to repeat themselves. But I highly recommend it if you're interested in food: it will make you want to cook and eat (better).
Jemma
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed reading this book and it opened my eyes to many things I didn’t know before. I like that this book doesn’t come across as preachy. It also doesn’t suggest a diet plan. It’s full of factual information about the culture of food and how we eat. Worth a read if you are at all interested in food or nutrition.
Carman Chew
Never would I have thought that I'd be so fascinated by a book on food but from beginning until end, she raises poignant point after point. a truly thought-provoking book that will change the way you eat and think about food.
Libby
May 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's some interesting parts of this book, for sure. It wasn't quite what I was expecting - it felt more personal and sometimes scolding than I'd expected, not as historic/academic. But it was overall an interesting, easily understandable discussion of food.
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Mt. Lebanon Publi...: The Way We Eat Now by Bee Wilson 1 1 Jun 11, 2019 04:45PM  
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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.
“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.” 1 likes
“In the US from 1980 to 2011, it became more than twice as expensive for Americans for purchase fresh fruit and vegetables compared to purchasing sugary carbonated beverages. Tomatoes and broccoli are far more expensive on average than they used to be for American shoppers. Energy-dense foods such as cakes and burgers have become far cheaper now in comparison to fruits and vegetables.” 0 likes
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