The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table

The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table

4.4 13
by Tracie McMillan
     
 

ISBN-10: 1439171955

ISBN-13: 9781439171950

Pub. Date: 02/21/2012

Publisher: Scribner


Inspired by the growing interest in food and the conversation about what we should be eating and where it should come from award-winning journalist Tracie McMillan began to wonder how America's working class could afford, let alone have time, to eat as well as they should. In 2009 McMillan decided to immerse herself in America's food system--from farm to…  See more details below

Overview


Inspired by the growing interest in food and the conversation about what we should be eating and where it should come from award-winning journalist Tracie McMillan began to wonder how America's working class could afford, let alone have time, to eat as well as they should. In 2009 McMillan decided to immerse herself in America's food system--from farm to restaurant kitchen--and work undercover alongside America’s working poor in order to examine how we eat.

Moving from California to Detroit to New York, McMillan worked as a farm laborer, a Wal-Mart clerk in the grocery section, and an expediter at Applebee’s. She often lived and worked and shared kitchens and food with her co-workers. She takes us into these worlds with vivid descriptions of the people she meets; the grueling work; the treatment of workers; and the food that's being grown, sold, and prepared. She lives within the means her low pay allows and demonstrates what that means in terms of the food she can afford to buy and the time she has to prepare it.

Good and healthy food should not be a luxury and in her important book Tracie McMillian explores why eating well in our country is limited to the few and what we can do about it and she establishes herself as an important young journalist writing about one of the hottest topics in America.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781439171950
Publisher:
Scribner
Publication date:
02/21/2012
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

Table of Contents

Before you Read this book xiii

Introduction: Eating in America 1

Part I Farming

1 Grapes 17

2 Peaches 37

3 Cutting Garlic 57

4 Gleaning Garlic 79

Part II Selling

5 Grocery 101

6 Produce 101 129

7 Produce 201 161

Part III Cooking

8 Kitchen Novice 185

9 Kitchen Spy 205

10 Kitchen Fixture 219

Conclusion: A New American Way of Eating 233

Holy Ted Nugent, We're all Foodies Now 243

Acknowledgments 247

Appendix: Cheap Food? 255

Notes 259

Bibliography 299

Q&A with Author Tracie McMillan 323

Teaching Guide for Tracie McMillan's the American Way of Eating 332

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The American Way of Eating: Undercover on the Front Lines of our Nation's Meals 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
NickTwisp More than 1 year ago
This book is so much better than I could have even hoped for. Sure, it has a fascinating and entertaining story about a journalist embedded in farm fields, produce sections, and restaurant kitchens. This is the stuff that probably brings you to the book. It has a great balance of humor, nuance, and heartbreaking stories of the work behind the food we take for granted. So just for that, you won't be disappointed. But there is a whole unexpected side to this book that will rock your world. Tracie McMillan brings some really thought provoking analysis to add context to what she goes through while in the ranks of the nations food workers. Some of the stats she uncovers will make your jaw drop. Other times she digs up some history, like the development of supermarkets or the impact of the national highway system on how we get our food, and you will be left with a deep new understanding of things you probably never thought about before. Trust me, there are some mind blowing revelations in store for you. I found that this book really made me think, and changed my understanding of the issue of food - not just what food we eat, but what the production of that food means for people working all along the chain. The approach to talking about poverty and economics made these issues accessible and easy to relate to. I didn't feel talked down to, and I didn't feel lectured at. Reading this book is like talking to someone who respects you enough to level with you and give you the real deal. This is the food book you need to read.
Lynn_Brooklyn More than 1 year ago
I just finished this book. I immediately bought a copy for my Mom and my boyfriend. I genuinely enjoyed journeying with Ms. McMillan from the fields of California to Detroit and back to my hometown of Brooklyn. She's honest and has such a great eye for things. She's often laugh out loud funny. At times it felt like I was watching a movie, each of the people in this book were so vivid. I'm grateful for this deep look at exactly where our food comes from. I'm not the only one who loves this book. The New York Times has this to say: One of the first things to like about Tracie McMillan, the author of “The American Way of Eating,” is her forthrightness. She’s a blue-collar girl who grew up eating a lot of Tuna Helper and Ortega Taco Dinners because her mother was gravely ill for a decade, and her father, who sold lawn equipment, had little time to cook. About these box meals, she says, “I liked them.” Expensive food that took time to prepare “wasn’t for people like us,” she writes. “It was for the people my grandmother described, with equal parts envy and derision, as fancy; my father’s word was snob. And I wasn’t about to be like that.” This is a voice the food world needs. … By the end of “The American Way of Eating,” the author ties so many strands of argument together that you’ll begin to agree with one of the cooks at Applebee’s, who declares about her in awe: “You see that white girl work? Damn, she can work.”
marigold216 More than 1 year ago
A deeply personal story of one woman's quest to understand "how America came to eat this way, why we keep doing it, and what it would take to change it." This was an incredibly engrossing read - smart, well-researched, funny, and gritty while at the same time hopeful. McMillan takes us inside some of the worst parts of America's food industry and working conditions, sharing rich stories of the people who help out on her unusual journey. She also challenges us to think about what would happen if access to fresh and healthy food were just as high a social priority as water and electricity. Like The Omnivore's Dilemma, this book is a delight to read and a much-needed contribution to our national understanding of food.
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stimpy More than 1 year ago
Very impressive and enlightening. This was a well-written book that really put it all together very clearly, and with proof of the facts. It should have a much better rating!! I was somewhat aware of a lot of what was in book, but only in a very vague way, having an interest in this subject, and even based on my own common sense observations of what goes on in stores and restaurants and life in general. But now, just having finished it, and reading the actual details, it is kind of is shocking to see that things are as bad as one might expect, and actually a lot worse. I don't need to expand on it more, just read the other reviews.
LaylaCD More than 1 year ago
There is a lot of padding in the initial chapters but the author has an interesting premise as to how our eating habits are formed and affected by our lives. Worth a look.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found the labor story more interesting than the food story. Very interesting portrait of underpaid and overworked food industry workers.