Hard to Swallow: A Brief History of Food

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Award-winning microbiologist and food safety expert, Richard Lacey, sweeps away the mystery surrounding this subject and provides the reader with a fascinating and readable account of the truth about the food we eat. He takes the reader on an eye-opening trip from farm to store to kitchen, exposing in detail how livestock is raised, what goes into its feed, how dried and packaged foods are processed, what germs and additives can be found in food, what to look for and what to avoid in supermarkets, how best to prepare food for safety and nutrition, and how to begin to solve some of the many pressing problems arising from modern food production and consumption patterns. He explains the specific dangers to the consumer from modern factory farming methods, the nutritional differences between wild and farmed fish, the environmental consequences of maintaining a meat-eating society, and responsible ways to make food more delicious, healthy, and enjoyable.

The book contains black-and-white illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Lacey, a microbiologist at Leeds University and a popular media critic on food issues, has assembled a hodge-podge of undocumented fact, prejudice, opinion, and speculation covering the ``history'' of food, the food industry and processing, shopping for food, and the ideal diet. Unfortunately, his chatty, personal style is inappropriate to the subject matter. While Lacey has important points to make about the intensive farming of food animals and the insipid character of much fast food, his ideal diet recommendations fall short of the ``five a day'' servings of fruit or vegetables now recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Not recommended.-- Carol Cubberley, Univ. of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg
From the Publisher
"Charming, delightful." Kirkus Reviews

"Lively and brisk." Publisher's Weekly

"A very readable account of recent developments concerning plants and meat...contains several useful hints, much information, quite a few entertaining tidbits." THES

"The author brings a style that is neither dull nor tasteless...covers a broad menu of topics and deftly interweaves many perspectives in medicine, infectious diseases, and ecology." Science Books & Films

"Covers a wide variety of food-related issues with dry humor and a highly questioning view of some of the practices of the food industry...well written and covers a lot of ground. It makes good reading for a wide audience." Journal of Applied Nutrition

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521064941
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/23/2008
  • Pages: 356
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Part I. Farming: 1. Crops; 2. Early meat; 3. Intensive meat; 4. Salmon farming, polyunsaturated fats; Part II. Food Processing: 5. Dried food; 6. Bread, pasta; 7. Moist food; Part III. Composition of Food: 8. Meat substitutes; 9. The germs in your food; 10. Additives in food processing; Part IV. Getting Ready To Eat: 11. The supermarket; 12. Water, brown fizz and alcoholic drinks; 13. Takeaways; 14. Care of the kitchen; Part V. Eating: 15. The ideal diet; 16. Hospital food; 17. Enjoying eating; Part VI. Is There a Solution?: 18. Is there a solution?

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