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The American Way of Eating

The American Way of Eating

Undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table

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  • freshman reading
In the tradition of Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed, an ambitious and accessible work of undercover journalism that fully investigates our food system to explain what keeps Americans from eating well—and what we can do about it.

Getting Americans to eat well is one of today’s hottest social issues; it’s at the forefront of Michelle Obama’s agenda and widely covered in the media—from childhood obesity to store brands trying to make their food healthier. Yet most Americans still eat poorly, and award-winning journalist Tracie McMillan wanted to know why. So, in 2009 McMillan went to work undercover in our nation’s food system alongside America’s working poor, living and eating off her wages, to examine how we eat.

McMillan worked on industrial farms in California, in a Walmart produce section outside Detroit, and at an Applebee’s kitchen in New York City. Her vivid narrative brings readers along to grueling work places, introduces them to her coworkers, and takes them home to her kitchen, to see what kind of food she (and her coworkers) can afford to buy and prepare. With striking precision, McMillan also weaves in the story of how we got here, digging deep into labor, economics, politics, and social science to reveal new and surprising truths about how America’s food is grown, sold, and prepared—and what it would take to change the system.

Fascinating and timely, this groundbreaking work examines why eating well in America—despite the expansion of farmer’s markets and eat local movements—is limited to the privileged minority.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439171950 | 
  • February 2012
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The American Way of Eating

Tracie McMillan goes underdcover where American's get their food and examines the reality of our country's food industry.

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Read an Excerpt

American Way of Eating
INTRODUCTION

Eating in America

The first Brooklyn supermarket I ever walked into had a cockroach in the deli. Not one of those stealthy critters stealing along the crevices in the floor, or hanging out backstage in dry storage. No, this was a proud-to-be-here New York City roach, crawling openly up the wall’s white tile before dropping, unceremoniously, onto the meat slicer below. I decided to skip the... see more

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