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Posted February 7, 2007
IF YOU EAT, YOU NEED TO READ THIS
I've closely followed all of the food books of the past year (Pollan, Buford, Kamp, etc.), and 'The Gospel of Food' stands apart for several reasons. Glassner is a sociologist and - if not as 'literary' a writer as Pollan et al - his book is clearer, more astringent and freer of romantic authorial stances. 'Gospel' provides an excellent opportunity to assess the food wisdom of the past years while adding immeasurably to the public's knowledge. Loving the counter-intuitive argument, Glassner (also author of bestseller 'The Culture of Fear'), makes us reconsider our superstitions and most entrenched and most beloved ideas about food and culture. Fast food: not as universally evil as Morgan Spurlock and others would have you believe. Restaurant culture in American: about as democratic as Versailles under Antoinette. Health professionals: Mostly P.T. Barnums, armed with unbelievably spurious data. Make no mistake, this is an important book for anyone who cares about how we live now.
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This book is a sad waste of time
Talk about a case of bait and switch! When I began reading this book it was entertaining, balanced and informative. However it quickly veered off course and I had to endure long sections in which the author bragged about his connections with celebrity chefs and food critics, and waxed rhapsodic over the gourmet meals he had been fortunate enough to experience. How is that in any way connected to the topic of the book?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Then for the remainder of the book the author morphed into a corporate shill, becoming the spokesperson and apoligist for agribusiness and fast food. I must confess that I began skimming at this point instead of reading patiently, because when the author started boasting that agribusinesses grew better crops than locally-owned family farms (unless of course one is sourcing food for a gourmet restaurant, a caveat he actually wrote), and tried to claim that the obeisity epidemic in this country was a fluke of statistics, my patience ran out. Speaking of statistics, the way the author massaged his statistical data and the sources he used for expert quotes and anecdotal evidence made his conclusions highly suspect.
I hope the author was paid well by the corporations which he stopped just short of endorsing, because I will never purchase one of his books again. I bought this volume off a clearance table for a bargain price and still feel cheated. Normally when I finish a book and do not wish to keep it I donate it to a book swap or include it in a charitable donation, but not this time - this book is going into the trash so it can't wind up in the hands of someone gullible enough to fall for the garbage within.
Posted February 5, 2007
A glaring omiission
This is an open letter to the author, Barry Glassner... You appear to believe that the only reasons people limit their intake of pleasurable foods--with fats, salt, MSG, etc.--are for weight maintenance, longer life, better health and other self-serving objectives. I have given up red meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products while recognizing the loss to the pleasures of my own taste buds, but with the greater satisfaction of being able to look myself in the mirror: I am not contributing to an industry that day-in, day-out causes enormous suffering to literally billions of animals annually in our own country alone. Though you mention animal rights here and there in The Gospel of Food, you at no time make a connection between the joys of eating foie gras , beef, squab, and the like, and the suffering that this consumption is causing to creatures as sentient as you. By dissing folks who shun the foods you enjoy, assuming that they have all bought into nostrums provided by quacks like Atkins, you are shortchanging many. Millions of us refuse to partake of the pleasures of the palate that demand suffering and blood from innocent, sentient beings.
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