BOOK GIVE-AWAY….the American Way of Eating

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I was riveted by an interview with the author, Tracie McMillan and Jian Ghomeshi  back in April and fascinated by the author’s year long undercover research into the topic of how food/produce travels from the field to the table. The publisher, Simon and Schuster has donated a  copy to give away to one lucky reader and I will mail it out to one of you by June 15.

The book is intelligently written with numerous insights. The author goes undercover to get an inside account of what it takes to work in the Californian fields, Walmart, the world’s largest grocery aisles and serve up food first hand to hungry Americans at Applebees. It’s a glimpse into the realities of FOOD PRODUCTION AND DELIVERY and raises questions around the entire system food systems in North America. Early on in the book, Tracie discovers that farm worker wages could be raised by 40% and would only increase the average American family’s produce bill by $16 per year. She goes on to carefully explain why there are so many obstacles to make this happen (see page 28-29).  This book is also a fascinating history around the grocery industry itself . Each new job includes a calculation of  real life budgets of covering life’s basic needs based on her wages and there is a detailed analysis at the end of the book and a broader look at the reality of realistically making ends meet and the percentage of income we devote to this basic necessity.  There are acts of generosity from her fellow workers along the way and it is a sober reminder of the reality of living when every single penny counts. It was an uncomfortable reminder of when every cent that flowed through my household was crucial to my family’s well-being. Were it not for greatly subsidized living standards via the generosity of family and friends and church, my children would have had a far different early childhood.

This book is important and I think it is well worth the time to digest it.

I would love any feedback on how you managed through the tough times and or if you would like a free copy of the book mailed to you. I will contact one lucky contributor by June 15 to mail out their copy of the book.

best, t

Full book description below:


The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table

by Tracie McMillan

Scribner | February 21, 2012 | Hardcover

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.