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The American Way of Eating

Undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, Farm Fields, and the Dinner Table
McMillan, Tracie (Book - 2012)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The American Way of Eating
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"In 2009 McMillan embarked on a groundbreaking undercover journey to see what it takes to eat well in America. For nearly a year, she worked, ate, and lived alongside the working poor to examine how Americans eat when price matters"--Jacket.
Authors: McMillan, Tracie
Title: The American way of eating
undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, farm fields, and the dinner table
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2012.
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed.
Characteristics: x, 319 p. ;,24 cm.
Contents: Eating in America
Farming: Grapes ; Peaches ; Cutting garlic ; Gleaning garlic
Selling: Grocery ; Produce 101 ; Produce 201
Cooking: Kitchen novice ; Kitchen spy ; Kitchen fixture
Conclusion: A new American way of eating
Appendix: Cheap food?
Summary: "In 2009 McMillan embarked on a groundbreaking undercover journey to see what it takes to eat well in America. For nearly a year, she worked, ate, and lived alongside the working poor to examine how Americans eat when price matters"--Jacket.
Local Note: 6 15 16 17 18 35 53 57 67 76 97 109 112 118 122 133 138 148 149 150 151 167 172 173 176 182 210 211 216 222 226 231 242 243 250 258 262 263 264 274
ISBN: 1439171955
9781439171950
Statement of Responsibility: Tracie McMillan
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 255-318).
Subject Headings: Cooking, American. Food service United States. Agricultural laborers United States. Food supply United States. Food habits Economic aspects United States. Food industry and trade United States.
Topical Term: Cooking, American.
Food service
Agricultural laborers
Food supply
Food habits
Food industry and trade
LCCN: 2012372266
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Apr 25, 2014
  • Hokansonh rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I found the chapters on farm workers fascinating, despite being repetitive. I occasionally wondered if I was accidentally listening to a CD twice. The chapters on Walmart left me bewildered as to the point and abandoned the book altogether. I would have enjoyed this book much more had it been divided into three articles.

Apr 23, 2014
  • kadiesutherland rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A compelling narrative on how the working class feed America. Tracie McMillan's blend of research and personal experience make it a fun read while feeling educational. The conclusion felt slapped together, but the journey to it is worth the read.

Dec 17, 2012
  • MsFrancis_MaldenInfo rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Similar in tone to Barbara Ehrenreich's "Nickel and Dimed," this book takes a look at the food industry in America and tries to answer the question, "What would it take for us all to eat well?"
Though a little disorganized in its telling and disappointing in its lack of a real conclusion, this is well worth reading if only for the exposure of working conditions in America's fields and farms. Definitely food for thought.

Sep 26, 2012
  • cmm740 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This is an excellent book! In a sea of books telling us that we have to eat better, eat organic, and buy local, it's refreshing to read a book that explores the lives of people who don't have that luxury.

Despite having read a lot of food writing in my lifetime exploring these issues, a lot of what was explored in this book was new to me. A very enlightening read.

Sep 08, 2012
  • ksoles rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This first person account of an undercover journey into the food industry reads like a novel. Through remarkable storytelling, Tracie McMillan shows the reader portraits of the working poor: those who harvest grapes, work at Walmart and serve at Applebee's. She endures gruelling work, suffers heat stroke, experiences identity theft and is even sexually assaulted. Ultimately, the reader truly empathizes with those trapped in low-paying jobs and understands how hard it can become to escape such jobs.

But "The American Way of Eating" also reads like a social commentary. It asks the profound questions: "What would it take for us all to eat well?" "What are the realities of food and eating in America, especially for the working poor?" "Why should we care about immigrant workers? Definitely food for thought.

Aug 25, 2012
  • kkemezis rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book is clearly thoroughly researched and investigated but also very accessibl. I walked away learning so much about the food industry but also relevant economic theory and a clearer understanding of the politics in play. This book also goes a long way towards exposing readers the day to day challenges, strategies, and triumphs of low income immigrant and citizen families. It also helped me to understand the social perceptions and forces at work maintaining the status quo of income inequality.

Aug 07, 2012
  • Maja_0001 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Investigative reporting at it's best.
It's amazing to discover how most of us get a ride for free on other peoples backs. It is also amazing to see how food industry is exploiting people who work in the farming sector, etc. -actually it's quite disgusting how people are treated.

Jul 12, 2012
  • hcallahan rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I actually disagree with those who compare this to Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed. Nor is it similar to George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London. Yes, there is some commonality in the focus on how poor people work and live, and on the business of feeding a nation. What's unexpected and impressive is that MacMillan really did quite a bit of research and investigative reporting. The book is enriched by having so much economic and sociological information mixed in with her personal observations. This is a boon, because her account of her personal experiences are much less stylish than in the works mentioned above. Nonetheless, MacMillan's book is a compelling read because she blends ethnography with investigative reporting rather well. I agree that it's not that conclusive, and essentially a series of magazine articles rather than a unified work. But is it reasonable to expect so much from a book on such a complex topic?

Mar 26, 2012
  • JDN rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book recounts the author's experience working on farms in California, working various jobs including produce at Walmart, and working in the kitchen at Applebees. Throughout the text, a greater examination of the constructs of the food industry and systems help us understand some of the larger issues at play politically, economically, and socially. There are so many wonderful footnotes documenting many of the assertions made, and picking from a few of those created another reading list of interest.

I enjoy these non-fiction books. I did not find the "arc" very compelling, but I enjoyed reading the book page by page, cover to cover.

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