In January of 2012, Megan Kimble was a twenty-six-year-old living in a small apartment without even a garden plot to her name. But she cared about where food came from, how it was made, and what it did to her body: so she decided to go an entire year without eating processed foods. Unprocessed is the narrative of Megan’s extraordinary year, in which she milled wheat, extracted salt from the sea, milked a goat, slaughtered a sheep, and more—all while earning an income that fell well below the federal poverty line.
What makes a food processed? As Megan would soon realize, the answer to that question went far beyond cutting out snacks and sodas, and became a fascinating journey through America’s food system, past and present. She learned how wheat became white; how fresh produce was globalized and animals industrialized. But she also discovered that in daily life, as she attempted to balance her project with a normal social life—which included dating—the question of what made a food processed was inextricably tied to gender and economy, politics and money, work and play.
Backed by extensive research and wide-ranging interviews—and including tips on how to ditch processed food and transition to a real-food lifestyle—Unprocessed offers provocative insights not only on the process of food, but also the processes that shape our habits, communities, and day-to-day lives.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Introduction: Change is a process 1
1 Supermarket: Processed sells 15
2 Wheat: Grain is unprocessed if it is whole 29
3 Sweet: Sugar is processed if it is made 62
4 Produce: A million melons are processed 90
5 Salt: Manipulated food is processed 122
6 Stuff: Obsolescence is processed 136
7 Out: Try your best 160
8 Drink: Unprocessed alcohol takes time 179
9 Refrigeration: Good work is unprocessed 204
10 Dairy: Milk is a process of scale 229
11 Meat: Meal is processed. Some meat is processed 261
12 Hunger: People unprocess 294
Epilogue: Receipts accumulate 316