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Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives Paperback – September 9, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
The book presents a view on the relationship between cities and the way we relate to our food (production, processing, transportion, consumption). It places the relationship in a personal, historical, social-economic perspective.
Carolyn Steel present a story that is rich in detail and in concepts. Her writing style keeps a good balance, neither wooly or academic nor infantile. The reader is challenged. For anyone interested in the way we shape our world (with some of its excesses) and how it came about will find lots of interesting ideas.
One of the details I liked, for example, is about the number of apple varities in the UK (over 2000) originally grown and how nowadays most apples consumed are just two (Golden delicious and Granny smith) varieties - neither indigenous. All that because these two sorts fit the logistic, commercial requirements best though neither are particular tasty. Based on this, and many other examples, Steel shows how a particular myopic logic has led us to a situation in which we are 'poorer' in many respects.
In the discussion she doesnot spare the reader/consumer/politicians/enterpreneurs without becoming vindicative or pedantic.
The book has a strong UK outlook. For non-UK readers some more example from other countries would have been nice. I enjoyed enormously the book nonetheless.
The lively story turns rather bleak when we come to look at modern food preparation and logistics. The extent to which a few big food businesses have come to monopolise food supply in supermarkets in modern cities is truly disturbing. These conglomerates have taken over from us decisions on what foods to grow or raise, limiting varieties to those that are most suited for mass production and quick monetary return. I, for one, have given little thought to the issue before reading this book (although I have mumbled now and then about supermarkets stocking only tomatoes that are tasteless). Worse still, the great deal of processed food that the industries churn out contribute not so much to nutrition as to obesity.
For anyone interested in the subject matter, this should be a delightful read, with sobering food for thought (pardon the pun) nonetheless.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
So very informative, connecting the two subjects in unique and interesting and historically based ways. Eating habits, production, architecture - this is a great book.Published 22 months ago by Big Ace
You will never look at cities from the air again in the same way - nor experience a grocery store with the same numb everyday duty.Published on January 9, 2014 by Peggy Sue Amison