Customer Review

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Mother Warned Me About Eating These Products, But Would I Listen?, May 19, 2007
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This review is from: Twinkie, Deconstructed: My Journey to Discover How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods Are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated Into What America Eats (Hardcover)
My wife has worked for years as a safety manager in the food industry, so I didn't expect too many surprises when I read this book. After all, I had been hearing about some of these products for about 15 years, in one fashion or another. And it didn't come as a shock that what is in snack cakes is also found in chips and cereal, as much of highly processed food is similar in content; it's just the arrangement that changes.

Maybe I took these materials for granted, as I have seen them in their finished state in boxes which the companies were getting ready to use. Somehow a material that is labeled "... Company Concentrated Chip Spice (Sour Cream & Onion)" just does not seem as intimidating as the chemicals presented in this book.

I was disgusted by the manufacturing technique of many of the chemicals, but realize that the science of chemistry is taking one molecule and making it into an entirely different molecule in the quickest and cheapest method possible. As long as the hazardous reactants are removed, I'm not really that terrified by eating most of these compounds, although I'm not that thrilled, either.

I can't wait to show my daughter this book, as she insists that canned spray cheese is really cheese, even though I keep telling her it is cheese food product. Reading this book will make her realize the difference between cheese food product and real cheese!

I did find the book fascinating and easy to read. The author did a wonderful job of blending the material with its source, its manufacture and then with its need within the recipe for the finished product. It was somewhat like reading a travelogue, a cookbook and a chemistry book rolled into one. Although the chemistry is fairly complex, the author does a wonderful job of digesting it into terms that even a chemistry dummy like me can understand and enjoy.

While I will look at a lot of foods differently, this book won't change what I eat. It will change my ability to understand and appreciate just what went into the finished product. I would highly recommend this book for anyone with an interest in what they eat, in chemistry or in cooking. It is incredibly well written and will certainly make you think about what you are eating and the cost associated with our love of junk food.
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