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The Way We Eat Now: How the Food Revolution Has Transformed Our Lives, Our Bodies, and Our World (Hardcover)
On Our Shelves Now
An award-winning food writer takes us on a global tour of what the world eats--and shows us how we can change it for the better
Food is one of life's great joys. So why has eating become such a source of anxiety and confusion?
Bee Wilson shows that in two generations the world has undergone a massive shift from traditional, limited diets to more globalized ways of eating, from bubble tea to quinoa, from Soylent to meal kits.
Paradoxically, our diets are getting healthier and less healthy at the same time. For some, there has never been a happier food era than today: a time of unusual herbs, farmers' markets, and internet recipe swaps. Yet modern food also kills--diabetes and heart disease are on the rise everywhere on earth.
This is a book about the good, the terrible, and the avocado toast. A riveting exploration of the hidden forces behind what we eat, The Way We Eat Now explains how this food revolution has transformed our bodies, our social lives, and the world we live in.
About the Author
Bee Wilson is a celebrated food writer, food historian, and author of five books, including First Bite: How We Learn to Eat and Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat. She has been named BBC Radio's food writer of the year and is a three-time Guild of Food Writers food journalist of the year. She writes a monthly column on food in the Wall Street Journal. She lives in Cambridge, England.
"The Way We Eat Now is both useful and informative, thoroughly and enterprisingly reported. ... Wilson presents a remarkable array of data, often in unusual and striking charts, and delivers numerous surprises."—New York Times
"You have to read this book."—Nigella Lawson
"In a brilliant new book, The Way We Eat Now, food writer Bee Wilson warns: 'For most people across the world, life is getting better but diets are getting worse.'"—Evening Standard (UK)
"Wilson sets out to demonstrate how dysfunctional our attitude to taking nourishment from the world has become. She is adept at finding the bold headlines, Wilson is also good as the devastating detail. Unlike several other food writers, Wilson's solutions remain rooted and realistic."—Times Literary Supplement (UK)
"Given our current position, The Way We Eat Now could serve as a warning, even as a threat about what could happen if we don't buck up our ideas. But it doesn't read that way. Wilson's desire to preserve the pleasure around eating shines out of this book even when grappling with the stickiest of issues."—The Spectator (UK)
"In The Way We Eat Now Wilson questions the entire food system as she addresses the paradox of our age: why as we become progressively wealthier, our diets become ever poorer.... Processed foods, a voracious marketing machine, faddiness, Instagram, yo-yo diets, sedentary lifestyles, takeaway apps -- the villains of the piece are familiar and plentiful and Wilson lays them bare in her typically scholarly way."—The Times (UK)
"This compelling overview of global eating habits by acclaimed food writer and Wall Street Journal columnist Wilson seesaws back and forth between alarming paradoxes. We eat to live, but what we eat is killing us.... Wilson's many fans and new converts alike will find her arguments convincing."—Booklist
"Merging impressive data with an engaging narrative style, The Way We Eat Now tackles the unsustainability of global food systems. Bee Wilson once again proves herself one of the world's most compelling voices in journalism, revealing how food is in danger of becoming an inferior good and offering a blueprint for practical ways to return real food to its rightful place at the table. This book should be required reading for everyone."—Darra Goldstein, founding editor of Gastronomica
"Bee Wilson's deep dive into the causes and consequences of today's unsustainable -- but now worldwide -- eating patterns is nothing less than a call to action. We must change today's Global Standard Diet to one that promotes planetary as well as our own health."—Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University, and author of Unsavory Truth: How Food Companies Skew the Science of What We Eat
"Bee Wilson weaves staggering information and fascinating insights into a gripping and inspiring story that is both fairytale and horror story. A brilliant must read about what touches us all."—Claudia Roden, author of Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon
"Bee Wilson has done it again. With a sharp eye and
engaging narrative, Bee chronicles how our current food culture represents the
best and worst of times. If you've ever felt conflicted about what to
eat, here's the book that untangles the complex story of how we got here and
where we might go, giving us an enlightening account that's as sobering as it
is enjoyable. A prescient, important book."—Dan Barber, chef and co-owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and author of The Third Plate
"Bee Wilson's fascinating book is a guide to the future of food and how we eat and will be eating. Meticulously researched and yet written brilliantly for the layman, her book will be often consulted on my bookshelf!"—Ken Hom OBE, Chef, author & TV presenter
"Nobody else writing about our global food landscape is as fearless, rigorous, compassionate or readable as Bee Wilson. Thank God we have her. Why we eat what we eat - and what has shaped our global food landscape - is one of the most vital questions of our time."—Diana Henry, author of Simple: Effortless Food, Big Flavors
"This is urgent reading. Bee Wilson writes with a deep understanding of the problems posed by the way we eat today, but she never loses sight of her own love for the joy and promise and power of eating well. I always walk away from her writing feeling more hopeful than despondent, resolved to do better for myself, my family, and the planet."—Chris Ying, editor of Lucky Peach
"This book is an entertaining choice for naturalists, foodies, and health-conscious readers."—Kirkus
"The Way We Eat Now is the British food writer's sixth book, and her most ambitious...Wilson deftly sketches four stages of the human diet..."Only in modern times," Wilson writes in one of her many brilliant passages, "could a person buy a stackable carton of fried crisps made from a slurry of dried potatoes and wheat starch seasoned with barbecue flavouring and sit on a sofa eating them not for celebration, not even out of hunger, but just out of a mild feeling of restless boredom. Only in stage four could another person - in the same mildly bored state - be eating exactly the same crisps at the exact same moment on another sofa somewhere halfway across the world."—Irish Times Magazine
'As Bee Wilson explains in her new book The Way We Eat Now, never before has so much energy-dense, low-nutrient food been available. Most alarming is how fruit has been engineered to be uniformly sugary, where the flavours used to be complex. Marks and Spencer sell grapes designed to taste like sweets.'—The Tablet (UK)
"There's a lot to chew on in food writer Bee Wilson's latest book, and her writing style - informed, thoughtful, amusing and never preachy - makes it all digestible."—Washington Times
"What she does very well is tease out the relationship between the pell-mell socioeconomic and lifestyle changes since the 1980s, changes that have swept the globe and affected virtually all of us, and our often obsessive and self-punishing attitudes and habits around eating."—the Nation
"The book is crammed with fascinating research. The most eye-opening concerns the dark consequences of food trends. Mexican avocados have been dubbed "blood guacamole" because the swelling profits they generate have led drug cartels to impose taxes on the farmers who grow them. Those who don't pay are threatened with violence. The Way We Eat Now is not just a compendium of curiosities, but also a blazing polemic."—i NEWS (UK)
"Wilson's new book, which sets out to examine all the ways in which, in a world of seeming abundance and choice, our food is becoming degraded to the point where it makes us ill - and to unpick our current strategies for coping with this toxic environment. Ultra-processed foods, full of additives and associated, according to some studies, with a rise in cancer risk, are the opposite of joyful. So, too, are the global brands that invade and ultimately destroy local food cultures (Wilson's book includes an account of the resources deployed by Frito-Lay to promote Doritos in Thailand)...Wilson, a food writer whose appetite for research seems to know no bounds."—Observer (UK)
"No one writes better about what food is doing to us."—Sunday Times (UK)
"Pick any page at random in food writer Bee Wilson's new book and you will find an arresting fact ... All this data might easily have been overwhelming, but there is not a moment in the book where you feel like you are drowning in information. The facts and figures are woven seamlessly into the narrative. Wilson writes with such clarity and grace that the chapters slip by like the courses of a delicious tasting menu. I devoured the book in a single sitting."—The Daily Telegraph (UK)
"The Way We Eat Now is useful not just as a reflection on international trends in health and food consumption, but also as a way to think about our own eating, and the eating of our friends and families. It's a profound book that is also enjoyable to read, or at least to dip into."—Metapsychology