Why Americans Love, Hate, and Fear Food
Baker & Taylor
An analysis of American cultural attitudes toward the things we eat examines and explores America's unique love-hate relationship with food and the belief that food can kill or cure us, offering the message that we need to discover eating's pleasures. 15,000 first printing.
Blackwell North Amer
Something has happened to food in America: It is no longer simply food - filling, good-tasting, life-sustaining. Rather, it is "fat-free" or "high in fiber" or "low in cholesterol" - either an enemy that will steal life away or a savior that will prolong it indefinitely. In this provocative book, Michelle Stacey chronicles the psychological and cultural forces behind this American obsession, forces that have transformed oat bran and broccoli into magical totems, and steak, butter, and eggs into killers. We have refashioned food into preventive medicine, a moral test, sometimes literally a mortal enemy - and in the process we have lost sight of one of its most basic functions: the giving of pleasure.
Stacey takes us on a revealing journey through the landscape of American food paranoia, from supermarket aisles, research laboratories, and the factories of food manufacturers to restaurant kitchens and food conventions. We peer inside the heads of advertising slogan writers, and learn from "restrained eaters" why there is no such thing as "normal eating" anymore. In each chapter of Consumed, Stacey delves into a different aspect of the American food obsession, introducing us to the people most actively and publicly involved with our food - rethinking it, selling it, cooking it, refiguring it in the lab.
We meet, among others, the inventor of the first FDA-approved fat substitute, who explains how technologically engineered foods are designed to fool us into eating well; the head of nutrition research at the Quaker Oats Company, who takes us through the rise and precipitous fall of the quintessential American health-food fad; a lobbyist for futuristic foods that are designed to prevent specific diseases; a back-to-nature food scientist/baker who is touting a little-known grain he says is the next oat bran; a chef who reveals a kitchen's-eye view of America's conflicted eating patterns.
The story these people tell is that of a culture trying to satisfy a near-impossible desire - that food be both righteous and naughty. Their experiences, taken together, represent a peculiarly American repast - one serving of anxiety, another of opportunism, a teaspoon of regret, and a sizable dollop of guilt. The answer to our eating problems, Stacey suggests, may lie in a new direction: a resolve to live in harmony with our food rather than to struggle against it, to balance information with pleasure, to rediscover the ancient art of letting food nourish our souls.
Perceptive, original, and elegantly argued, Consumed will change the way we think about food.
An analysis of American cultural attitudes toward the things we eat explores America's unique love-hate relationship with food and the current belief that food can kill or cure us
New York : Simon & Schuster, c1994
Branch Call Number:
237 p. ; 23 cm