- Series: Belknap Press
- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press; 1St Edition edition (April 27, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674032918
- ISBN-13: 978-0674032910
- Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,431,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Fresh: A Perishable History (Belknap Press) 1St Edition Edition
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Fresh is an engagingly original way of looking at food history, both thought-provoking and entertaining.
--Mark Kurlansky, author of The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell
This is the right book at the right time. Freidberg provides a masterful account of the complex web of labor practices, technological innovations, corporate controls and consumer choices that have produced the items that confront us each time we open the refrigerator door. Fresh successfully uses the stuff of everyday life to explain complex historical, cultural, and social phenomena. After reading this compelling work, you'll never look at a carton of eggs the same way again.
--Carolyn de la Peña, University of California, Davis
In this lively and compelling book, Freidberg unearths the secrets within our refrigerators as she explores what is natural and unnatural about freshness. How have commerce and industry shaped our seasonless abundance? Where did the fruit grow? How far have the beef and fish traveled? Whose labor and risks do the vegetables hide? Fresh shows why such questions matter as it reveals how our notions and expectations of fresh food changed over the last century. It challenges us to look differently at our food.
--Pamela Walker Laird, author of Pull and Advertising Progress
Freidberg opens the fridge on a world few have considered: how the advent of cold storage subverted ideas of freshness, shifted power from consumers and producers to middlemen, and virtually eliminated seasonality. We all like lettuce in February, but Freidberg's ingenious and spirited Fresh serves to remind us of its technological, environmental, and social cost.
--Elizabeth Royte, author of Bottlemania and Garbage Land
In this highly readable and sophisticated book, Freidberg traces the ambiguous history of freshness in food. Despite its 'natural' associations, freshness has been produced, engineered, marketed, and valued in a variety of ways over the course of the last century. Broadly accessible, richly comparative, and written with flair, Fresh will appeal to a wide audience.
--Julie Guthman, author of Agrarian Dreams: The Paradox of Organic Farming in California
Fresh paints a fascinating picture of our changing views of perishable food...It is the historical detail of Fresh that throws so much light on why we now eat the way we do...Freidberg writes elegantly and goes beyond the technical to draw out this paradox at the heart of today's culture of consumption: we have ended up with a food system that promotes both novelty and nostalgia, obsolescence and shelf life, indulgence and discipline.
--Felicity Lawrence (The Guardian 2009-05-02)
Freidberg--tracking the movement of beef, eggs, fruit, vegetables, milk and fish from source to table--shows how technology, abetted by modern public relations, has changed the way we eat...Freidberg writes with wit and clarity, and her sense of humor extends to her choice of illustrations.
--Aram Bakshian Jr. (Wall Street Journal 2009-04-25)
Few can read this thought-provoking book without thinking that although the benefits of modern food production are real, they are bought at an extravagant price. We could, if we tried, be more sensible in our demands on farmers, more resistant to the lures of advertisers, more thoughtful about the origins of our food, and more alert to the effects food production has on the environment and the people who produce it. Ms. Freidberg's book is a good place to start because it unravels the tangle of science and economics that puts food on our tables. Readers will find that the word "fresh" will never be quite the same again.
--Claire Hopley (Washington Times 2009-05-26)
Fascinating and meticulously documented...Even as some of us beat a path to the farmers market or CSA, the history [Freidberg] describes affects the selections available and their path to our refrigerator. She gives us much to ponder and presents it in a highly readable volume largely devoid of value judgments. I learned a lot. Give it a read. It will indeed give you a fresh look at your food.
--Janet Majure (foodperson.com 2009-06-08)
A dietary-cum-social history of the Mark Kurlansky/Michael Pollan sort, this smart, sweeping, and timely volume--appearing at a moment when buying locally and eating organically are fashionably responsible quests--considers the conundrums of industrial freshness. According to Freidberg, a Dartmouth professor, we all crave access to healthful, seasonal foodstuffs, yet we hunger equally for year-round convenience and value. The result: to open a refrigerator is to access a Pandora's box of compromise and freighted trade. Cold storage, Freidberg argues, has altered tastes, damaged the environment, hurt the consumer, and helped facilitate the less-than-salutary shift from localism to globalism. The stories of six staples--beef, eggs, fruit, vegetables, milk, and fish--both reinforce her thesis and stand as discretely engaging narratives, each rendered with clarity and flair. Food, truly, for thought. (The Atlantic 2009-07-01)
In Fresh, Susanne Freidberg chronicles how expectations about beef, fish, milk, eggs, fruit and vegetables have shifted over the past century. Freshness means more than the absence of biochemical decay. It is bound up with our notions of purity, nutrition and beauty. And these ideas have adapted to the rise of a technology that most of us now take for granted--refrigeration.
--Jascha Hoffman (Nature 2009-06-18)
Six categories of food are placed under the microscope in this survey of shifting cultural values. Beef, eggs, vegetables, fruit, milk, and fish are each examined in Freidberg's extensively researched and engagingly written account.
--Lara Killian (popmatters.com 2009-07-10)
All in all fascinating and clear evidence for the protean nature of freshness... By the end of the book, the reader is acutely aware of the point that [Freidberg] reinforces in her brief epilogue, namely that freshness comes at a price, that there is no utopia of freshness, and that the ability to enjoy fresh foods is a privilege of the wealthy parts of the world...For anyone who is interested in figuring out the basic ideas that inspire contemporary eating and food production, Fresh is essential reading.
--Rachel Laudan (rachellaudan.com 2009-08-05)
French fruit farmers, Argentine cattle ranchers, Mexican dairy farmers hidden from view in pastoral Vermont and Hong Kong seafood aficionados all enter into this lively and edifying account. The book includes a sweeping survey of how ideas of freshness vary culturally, but have invariably been influenced by urbanization and globalization--and by technological innovations that preserve the illusion of straight-from-the-source freshness...It is a lively, engaging book.
--Prashanth A K (Times Higher Education 2009-09-03)
[A] meticulously researched social history of our relationship with perishable food.
--P.D. Smith (The Guardian 2010-11-06)
About the Author
Susanne Freidberg is Associate Professor of Geography at Dartmouth College.
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Top Customer Reviews
In FRESH: A PERISHABLE HISTORY, Susanne Freidberg opens the refrigerator door on a fascinating aspect of our modern American food culture: how the search for "fresh" food has shaped what we buy, cook, and eat. We take the refrigerator so much for granted that it's almost impossible to imagine what eating was like before--and what it is like now for those who can't afford to participate.
But we didn't always have ice on demand and mechanical refrigeration has been around for only a century. In her first chapter, Freidberg's first chapter establishes the technical context for her discussion of the extraordinary changes that have taken place in our diets and eating habits in the last hundred years. The "cold revolution" changed the geography of fresh food, she says, making it possible for perishable foodstuffs to travel around the globe and for seasonally-available fruits, vegetables, and meat to appear on our tables year-round. Refrigeration gives us the ability to consume very old food and still happily imagine it as "fresh."
Take meat, for instance. As hunters, humans have always eaten wild meat, but Freidberg points out that eating domesticated animals has been, until recently, a "seasonal and regional luxury." Most people ate plant-based diets with the occasional addition of locally grown and processed meat.Read more ›
As a food-focused writer and participant in our current local food movement myself, I find the historical perspective of this book especially valuable.Read more ›
The book's focus is mostly the US and Europe. It discusses a wide array of related topics, such as labor, political interference, while focusing on several food categories. The most interesting chapter is the last, on milk. Refrigeration meant that dairy cattle didn't have to be located very near market cities, and changed the geography of production and marketing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is well-written and provides a lot of interesting references/information. Rather than being an agenda driven condemnation of the US food system, it provides and... Read morePublished on September 2, 2014 by J. Berning
text is excellent. i bought the kindle edition and it is missing all the images. for each image, it actually says to refer to the print edition!! how incredibly lame is that?Published on December 24, 2011 by annoyed with kindle