American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan

This title is an examination of the way we eat and what it would take to eat well. The author works undercover as a laborer in the field of Central Valley, California, as a stock clerk in a Detroit area Walmart, and as an expediter in a Brooklyn Applebee’s. As she works for two months in each job she lives as her co-workers do on meager wages and with little access to affordable and healthy food. During her time in these jobs she comes ‘to think of the intrticate linkages from farm to plate not as a food system, but as a foodscape, a lush, living, breathing world through which our meals travel. Farmers and chefs are the most visible of its inhabitants, but farmworkers and produce managers and stock clerks and prep cooks live there, too – and they are no less important to our meals. At the human end of the food chain, eating is not just an agricultural act, but a profoundly social one as well.” p.234 I found this to be an eye-opening investigation of the American food system. It’s an informative look at the workers who have a hand in putting food on our plates. The narrative is entertaining to read but the author also includes numerous footnotes, almost 40 pages of endnotes, and a 23 page bibliography so the book is scholarly as well. If the topic of food and eating well is appealing you might also like Plenty: one man, one woman, and a raucous year of eating locally by Alisa Smith/J.B. Mackinnon and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: a year of food life by Barbara Kingsolver.

Comments are closed.