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The Gospel of Food

3.3  ·  Rating details ·  357 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
Enjoy what you eat.

From the author of the national bestseller "The Culture of Fear" comes a rallying cry to abandon food fads and myths for calmer and more pleasurable eating.

For many Americans, eating is a religion. We worship at the temples of celebrity chefs. We raise our children to believe that certain foods are good and others are bad. We believe that if we eat the r
ebook, 320 pages
Published January 2nd 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published January 1st 2007)
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Sep 08, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm giving this book one star because I feel angry at it. This book does contain some good points that have affected the way I think about food and dieting, but they are buried in layer upon layer of very poorly organized writing. I have no doubt that Glassner's book is well-researched, and I appreciate him taking on the current flap over how fat Americans are, but honestly! I want to sit Glassner down for a conversation about "sign-posting" (let your audience know what your overall structure is ...more
May 20, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My god. Where do I begin with this book?
Lets start with all of the breathless reviews by the NY Times, LA Times, etc. Their raving reviews baffle me.

Next I should explain that I went in a fan. I liked Glassner's pervious book Culture of Fear very much. He's a sociologist by trade and Culture of Fear was well researched and persuasively argued.

Those attributes, however, do not describe The Gospel of Food. Unless you were going to say something like "This book is, like, the opposite of well resea
this book reminds me of his other book, the culture of fear, as well as freakonomics and other books that question conventional wisdom, and don't really make any strong conclusions. i found the sections on restaurants to be boring, but other than that it was interesting. i liked his points about the demonization of fast food as a class thing and how in reality many other restaurants engage in all the same practices. i also liked what he said about food companies adding all those vitiamins and st ...more
Nov 30, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stumbled upon The Gospel Of Food by Barry Glassner in the library. Boy, am I glad I did.

It's well written
It's non-fiction, but reads like a good novel.
It's fun for foodies.
It's humorous.
It's good to talk about food and health.
It's fun to agree and disagree.
I like to challenge my self to not believe everything I think.
Dec 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
glassner's storytelling is not my style, but the information in the book is excellent
First, the reason why I didn't give this book 1 star: it makes a few excellent points, successfully arguing why Big Food and Fast Food isn't "evil," like some extremists seem to be arguing, and successfully calling into question a few kernals of common food wisdom.

Now, the bad:

I read this book soon after Michael Pollen's In Defense of Food, and I must say, Gospel of Food is both very similar and markedly inferior.

Glassner's premise is simple (hint: it's the title's tagline) but his execution is
Nov 18, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2008
The title sums up the premise of Glassner's book fairly accurately. He makes some valid points throughout the book, but they ultimately get lost, due to a lack of organization, signposting, and an overarching tendency simply to pick holes in the arguments of others without really stating his own position very clearly.

The book also lacks any kind of structural coherence - the chapters are more like scattered essays with no real unifying concept. The opening and closing chapters are generally con
Apr 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone I Know
This book should be read by everyone who eats. As with Glassner's previous THE CULTURE OF FEAR, this book adjusted my cultural perspective. If you've ever eaten, been tempted to eat, or not eaten something because "it isn't good for you," then think again. Glassner is a powerful and persuasive writer and boy does he do the research. Read it and you'll know what Glassner means by the "gospel of naught," "nutritional imperialism," and "dietary idealists." Really, a very cool read.
Jul 07, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gee, I'm really hungry.

I enjoyed this book overall. It follows the same style as Freakonomics, which I loved. I was frustrated by the lack of conclusions. The author never promised any, but somehow I felt cheated. Why are there hungry people in the world? Why are there overweight people in the world? Why can't scientists do a better job of researching food and the human body?
Jan 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Strikingly similar to Michael Pollan's, In Defense of Food. Nonetheless, a well-researched and executed book poking holes in many of the prevalent theories surrounding food and nutrition.Glassner differs from Pollan in that he approaches common myths from the position of one who enjoys partaking in good food, be it a greasy burger or fresh produce.
Joni Lynn
Aug 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't put this down - it's one of the most interesting nonfictions I've ever read. A lot of the information the author shares actually changed my opinion - about dieting, obesity, fast food, health food, etc. Anyone who eats should read 'The Gospel Of Food.'
Douglas Wilson
This was a fun read -- really enjoyable to read someone who enjoys food without the snobbishness. Glassner thinks clearly about the subject, a quality that is too rare in these, our degenerate times.
Oct 29, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Worthwhile read discussing our culture's food obsessions and myths. Glassner's discussion of obesity in our country is especially interesting.
Matthew Harbowy
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Acting as adequate counterpoints, Barry Glassner's "The Gospel of Food" and Christopher Cook's "Diet for a Dead Planet" provide an interesting contrast on agribusiness.

Cook's "Diet" is almost universally a polemic: despite this, his book is most fascinating during part II, tracing the roots of the conversion from agrarianism pre 1800's, and proceeds to modern corporate monoculture agribusiness of today. Rather than opening with this story and presenting a coherent explanation for "the way things
Apr 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
"Prejudices dressed up as science are still prejudices." At the risk of sounding juvenile, this book was awesome. Well-written and full of interesting research peppered with opinion, it was a delight to read. I'm not sure Glassner proved anything. In fact, he disproves pretty much everything we're told by the food and health industries. Or at the least, he proves that they all have their biases. To sum it up, don't believe what you hear, or read on the label. Just because a food contains a parti ...more
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a very easy, entertaining read that touched lightly on some important questions about how our culture approaches food. Unfortunately, the reader is left with more questions than answers because that seems to be the current state of research about food and health and weight, despite various people claiming they have The One True Answer every Tuesday. Be wary of one true answers. They're usually too simplistic to accurately capture how food and bodies work in reality.

A lot of readers
Apr 06, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: never-finished
I feel bad talking shit about this book, since I feel like the author might snoop and get offended (since he's on goodreads). Oh wait, I don't care. Also, I don't care about his splendid meals that I can't pronounce from fancy pants restaurants that I will never be able to afford. And I don't care about the ins-and-outs of restaurant critiquing. And guess what? I don't care about his assortment of essays that bring up contradictions. And by "bring up" I mean it, since he doesn't have an opinion ...more
Sarah Pascarella
Jan 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Why do we deify some meals and some foods, and demonize others?" That's the central question of Glassner's highly enjoyable book. A sociologist and thorough researcher, Glassner sets out to champion the notion of common sense when it comes to our daily bread. Everyone gets a critical eye, whether it's the USDA; Big Agra; Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, and Morgan Spurlock; the GOP; liberals; nutritionists; national magazines; and more. Basically, with most food studies, Glassner shows that if o ...more
Nov 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! The author put into words so many things I think about food culture in America that I can never quite express. From dieting to GMO's, he takes many cherished taboos in modern American food culture (and so many of the fb mommy-wars I see), and talks about them from a mainly sociological point of view. I love people who point out how American fads can get so carried away that we are ridiculous about things that either don't actually matter or aren't actually true. The only reaso ...more
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My version is The Gospel of Food, why we should stop worrying and enjoy what we eat. It's a paperback. I especially enjoyed the chapter about food critics. The best restaurants will have pictures of critics hanging in the kitchen so they recognize the critics and can give them the best service and food. A Washington DC critic consulted with the CIA to better disguise himself. It worked once. Some restaurants have obscured cameras which the chef can control from the kitchen to identify critics. T ...more
Jesse Richman
Sep 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pleasant, easy-to-swallow antidote to the claptrap being spouted by Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, et al. Yes, I'm contrary by nature, and it's always fun to see someone take a shot at the reigning orthodoxy of the moment, but Glassner does a solid job backing himself up (which is more than can be said for many fonts of the conventional wisdom).

A brief note to those who have criticized Glassner for not offering his own solutions/recommendations: the whole point here is that we have no solutions
Dec 16, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food, sociology
While it is interesting to read his perspective on the state of eating in the US, I wanted him to explicitly state his beliefs instead of simply contradicting all of the experts that he writes about. I also thought that he came from a more privileged place foodwise (how many people eat at some of the fanciest and most expensive restaurants in the world?) than most people. While he had some good things to say, I thought that because of his food experience, it was hard for him to consider the rela ...more
Cindy Breeding
Feb 08, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fat accecptance wonks & all of the Fatosphere
Recommended to Cindy by: The book shelf at Barnes & Noble
There's a lot to love about this book. Sociologist Barry Glassner lends his keen eye to studies about food and health. He finds that Americans are obsessed with calories, fat and carbs and miss out on the pleasure of eating. He skewers nutritional imperialists, fat cat scientists pimping for big food, people who think they're too cool because they eat "authentic" ethnic cuisine and the diet nazis who take the joy out of eating.

Too bad the book is about too many things and tries to cover too much
Jan 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was hard to follow his points, because he is so educated in the area of food. When you were able to follow his train of thought, however, it was definitely a good book. I learned a lot of things, and was reminded of other things, I've always believed to be true about food, and the way we consume food. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in what they put in their body. But, I would recommend the book to be read in a very quiet room, with little distractions. You defi ...more
May 09, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: foodie
Just finished The Gospel of Food, by Barry Glassner. In it, he basically calls for sanity in food attitudes - he speaks against the no-fat, no-sugar, no-gluten-cholesterol-carbohydrate-whatever groups as well as the food snobs who will only eat in four-star restaurants. He doesn't condemn fast food, but again speaks of moderation. This isn't in any way a diet book, more about the way that we think about food. Although I didn't agree with everything he said, I found myself agreeing with him more ...more
Apr 20, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There were interesting passages in this book, and several valid points. It was, I thought, both too long and too wandering. The author spent an inordinate amount of time citing studies to show that (other) studies can't be trusted. I'm not sure why the studies he cites are presented as irrefutable. I kept thinking about "lies, damned lies, and statistics" throughout the whole book.

The book itself is discursive and meandering, though obviously well-meaning and written by a food lover.

While I do
Feb 26, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: foodies
Parts of this were really interesting, while others got a little dry for my taste. Glassner plays an interesting devil's advocate to what people say you should and shouldn't eat. The part about how most of the studies you hear about are just about made up by lobbyists is especially enlightening. Obviously we share a common philosophy about food - eat what you like but don't go overboard (unless, in my case, it's dessert or vacation).
I ... actually didn't finish this. What I read was fabulous, so that wasn't the issue - the problem is that I may have read all the books that tell you that food is good/bad (nutritionally/environmentally/ecologically/morally/ethically/whatever) that I can possibly read. I have opinions, I have skeptical feelings about claims made by authors as well as companies -- so I'm just growing my own veggies, buying into a CSA, and going from there.
Jun 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Foodies, fatties, cooks, anyone who eats.
Glassner tackles a huge subject (FOOD!) and manages to whittle it down to just a few chapters. His writing is succinct, clear, funny, and very enjoyable to read. Even if you don't agree with all of his conclusions about Big Food/the restaurant industry/the obesity "epidemic" (my favorite section-- I love it when anyone tears apart those "the sky is falling!" obesity studies), this book will make you think a lot about what you eat, where you eat, and why you make those choices.
Mar 05, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmmm. Started out kind of fun, but I think he is very dismissive of the healing properties of food and I think that's suspect since so much of modern medicine is derived from plants. I do think we should let go of some of our food fears but I don't think he makes a compelling argument for why we should eat absolutely anything we want. If it were working, there wouldn't be a diet/nutrition industry, it's called supply and demand for a reason.
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Barry Glassner has appeared on numerous television and radio programs, and has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times. A professor of sociology at USC, Glassner lives in Los Angeles. His most recent book is THE GOSPEL OF FOOD: Everything You Think You Know About Food Is Wrong.
More about Barry Glassner...