- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Duke University Press Books (October 2, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0822355590
- ISBN-13: 978-0822355595
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #944,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Paperback – October 2, 2013
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I really really enjoyed this book- it was easy to read (I got through it in less than a day) and though it wasn't necessarily groundbreaking to me, the way things were explained was very simple and accessible. The chapter on "obesity" really was what knocked it out of the park for me, and her very deliberate and careful pulling back of layers to reveal how class in particular shapes understandings around food (especially shoring up the boundaries of the middle class) are something I want every single person in my life to read. (But really, it's a bummer this isn't through a popular press because I want everyone to read it.)
"(The book) chronicles the dietary reform movements that have shaped ideas about good nutrition and public health in the United States for more than a century." With the high take up of pre-processed food and takeaway outlets, it feels harder to accept that things have got better, instead of getting worse. With greater economic freedom and choice thanks to automation and industrialisation, have we made a step or two backwards? Yet the book does identify a possible reason for why things seem to be the way they are.
This is an academically-focussed book which is still quite accessible and possibly of benefit to those with an interest in food, social society and similar "disciplines." It won't make you a better cook but it might help improve your understanding of many issues. Just manage your expectations accordingly ahead of time. Six chapters present the author's contention that despite their scientific origins, dietary ideals are also cultural, subjective and political. Trying to teach people that "eating right" will improve their health may be laudable, yet it requires a different approach to that used today.
As you would expect of an academic reference work, it is crammed full of footnotes and an extensive bibliography. It is unfortunate that the price and the overall approach of this book might push it out of reach of the more general reader - through no fault of the book - as the central messages deserve a much wider audience and to help challenge contemporary thinking. If you have a professional or academic need for this kind of material, you will find it a very reasonable, comprehensive and compelling read, even if you disagree with parts of it.
A nice, insightful read by a nice, insightful person. I look forward to the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th editions, to which I hope she understands she is obligated and should not disappoint her readers!
When Biltekoff realized that, for all their differences, the pioneering home economists and Alice Waters, the restaurateur and advocate of the "delicious revolution," both used right eating as a way to forward agendas about what it was to be a moral person and a good citizen, she embarked on a many-year investigation of dietary advice in the United States.
Her conclusions are sane and sobering. She does not recommend backing off dietary advice. She does argue that you should only offer it after considering all the class and political baggage that may well be implicit in that advice.
If you are a food activist, here are some lessons to ponder. If you are just someone who reads the advice in newspapers and magazines, here is a handbook for interpreting the larger messages of that advice.