Two books take stock of the never-ending food crisis
The Dark History of Food Fraud, from Poisoned Candy to Counterfeit Coffee
by Bee Wilson
$26.95 List Price
To read about food is, increasingly, to read about crisis. There are the main-course-and-divorce memoirs of a Betty Fussell, the restaurant tell-alls of an Anthony Bourdain, and—most alarmingly—the tainted-food jeremiads, such as Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, decrying how global agribusiness is environmentally unsustainable and bad for our health. Producing a mood of crisis about our sustenance is apparently supposed to heighten our determination to overhaul the way we cultivate, prepare, and think about food. But would-be reformers never quite turn the corner into effective political agitation, largely because anxieties about food production are as old as the mass distribution of groceries—a crucial theme in Bee Wilson’s sobering (yet entertaining) new book, Swindled.
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