Animal, Vegetable, Junk
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author and pioneering journalist, an expansive look at how history has been shaped by humanity’s appetite for food, farmland, and the money behind it all—and how a better future is within reach.
The story of humankind is usually told as one of technological innovation and economic influence—of arrowheads and atomic bombs, settlers and stock markets. But behind it all, there is an even more fundamental driver: Food.
In Animal, Vegetable, Junk, trusted food authority Mark Bittman offers a panoramic view of how the frenzy for food has driven human history to some of its most catastrophic moments, from slavery and colonialism to famine and genocide—and to our current moment, wherein Big Food exacerbates climate change, plunders our planet, and sickens its people. Even still, Bittman refuses to concede that the battle is lost, pointing to activists, workers, and governments around the world who are choosing well-being over corporate greed and gluttony, and fighting to free society from Big Food’s grip.
Sweeping, impassioned, and ultimately full of hope, Animal, Vegetable, Junk reveals not only how food has shaped our past, but also how we can transform it to reclaim our future.
Copyright 2021, hardcover, 364 pages.
About the Author:
MARK BITTMAN is the author of more than thirty books, including the How to Cook Everything series and the #1 New York Times bestseller VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good. He was a food columnist, opinion columnist, and the lead magazine food writer at the New York Times, where he started writing in 1984 and remained for more than thirty years. He has received six James Beard Awards, four IACP Awards, and numerous other honors. Bittman is currently special advisor on food policy at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, where he teaches and hosts a lecture series. He is also the editor in chief of Heated.
Praise for Animal, Vegetable, Junk:
"A brilliant and insightful explanation of the food system. Bittman's writing is succinct and entertaining, and his recommendations are spot on." -David Kessler, MD., former FDA commissioner and cochair of President Biden's COVID-19 task force
"The authoritative text on the 1.8-million-year history of the food system. Bittman leaves no stone unturned." -Leah Penniman, founding codirector of Soul Fire Farm and author of Farming While Black
I'm still reading and enjoying this book. Love the historical details and perspective.
So far very good!
An important but politicized look at the history of the Western food system
Overall, I enjoyed this book. Bittman does a good job explaining how the food system came to be the way it is with all of its problems. He also includes the issue of race and slavery in a frank way that I haven't seen in other, older food history books. I objected to his tone in some sections of the book, however. He clearly has a political slant, and that comes through loud and clear by the time you are done. While I may not disagree with his perspective, I still think that a book like this should be presented in a less politicized and more objective way. Many people who would really benefit from a greater understanding of the problems with the food system may be too turned off by his liberal politics to actually finish it. I think the same material could have been presented differently without alienating part of the book's audience. We need more open and respectful dialogue about these issues, and that is difficult to achieve if people feel like they are being attacked from the outset.
Most important book of our time...
How could anyone read this book and not feel a tremendous sense of urgency. Everyone should read this.