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

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9781439171967: The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table
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Now in paperback, this New York Times bestselling work of undercover journalism offers "a compelling and cogent argument that eating healthily ought to be easier" (The Cleveland Plain Dealer).

When award-winning (and working-class) journalist Tracie McMillan saw foodies swooning over $9 organic tomatoes, she couldn't help but wonder: What about the rest of us? Why do working Americans eat the way we do? And what can we do to change it? To find out, McMillan went undercover in three jobs that feed America, living and eating off her wages in each. Reporting from California fields, a Walmart produce aisle outside of Detroit, and the kitchen of a New York City Applebee's, McMillan examines the reality of our country's food industry in this "clear and essential" (The Boston Globe) work of reportage. Chronicling her own experience and that of the Mexican garlic crews, Midwestern produce managers, and Caribbean line cooks with whom she works, McMillan goes beyond the food on her plate to explore the national priorities that put it there.

Fearlessly reported and beautifully written, The American Way of Eating goes beyond statistics and culture wars to deliver a book that is fiercely honest, strikingly intelligent, and compulsively readable. In making the simple case that--city or country, rich or poor--everyone wants good food, McMillan guarantees that talking about dinner will never be the same again.

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Review:

"Tracie McMillan is gutsy, scrappy, and hard-working--you'd have to be to write this book. "The American Way of Eating" takes us local in a new way, exploring who works to get food from the field to the plates in front of us, what they are paid, and how it feels. It's sometimes grim but McMillan doesn't flinch; I especially appreciated her openness in telling us what she spent in order to get by (or not). A welcome addition to the urgent, growing body of journalism on food." --Ted Conover, author of "Newjack" and "Coyotes"

"To uncover the truth behind how our modern food system works, Tracie M. McMillan took jobs in a supermarket produce section, a chain restaurant kitchen, and the fields alongside migrant laborers. If you eat, you owe it to yourself to read this masterful book." --Barry Estabook, author of "Tomatoland"

"The book Ms. McMillan's mostresembles is Barbara Ehrenreich's best seller "Nickel and Dimed". Like Ms.Ehrenreich, Ms. McMillan goes undercover amid this country's working poor....This is a voice the food world needs." --"New York Times"

"These tales lay bare the sinews, the minds, and the relationships that our food system exploits and discards. In a work of deep compassion and integrity, Tracie McMillan offers us an eye-opening report on the human cost of America's cheap food." --Raj Patel, author of "Stuffed and Starved "and "The Value of Nothing"

"With much courage and compassion, McMillan explores the lives of those at the bottom of our food system. Here is a glimpse of the people who feed us--and the terrible price they pay. If we want to change the system, this is where we must begin." --Eric Schlosser

"This is an amazing book. Tracie McMillan willtake any reader into new territory. The implacable fierceness offarmwork, the slovenliness behind the produce section at Walmart--prepare to besubmerged in harsh little worlds and shocked. But McMillan keeps hercool, always presenting the context and the content of her struggles withenough analytic detachment to rough out a complete, and convincing, vision offood as a social good. Read her book and your dinner will never look thesame."

--William Finnegan, author of "Cold New World"

"McMillan provides an eye-opening account of the route much of American food takes from the field to the restaurant table." --"Kirkus"

"Three cheers for Tracie McMillan; this book is a revelation! It is the sort of engaging first person adventure story that reads like a good novel, all the while supplying the facts and figures that make the larger picture clear. I'm grateful to her in equal parts for the stamina and courage to undertake this undercover journey, the narrative skill that makes the account so digestible, and the commitment to social justice for both workers and consumers that infuses the whole project." --Janet Poppendieck, author of "Free for All "and "Sweet Charity"

"Tracie McMillan has written a remarkable book for right now--a book that smartly tells us what is wrong with what we eat and how we might improve it. But what is even more remarkable about the book is how deeply engaging it is. With her intimate and confident portraits of American food workers, she crafts a touching, emotional narrative that will stay with you long after you have finished the last page." --James Oseland, author of "Cradle of Flavor"

"This is a wonderful introduction to the triumph and tragedy of the American food industry. Mixing compassionate participant observation with in depth, up-to-the-minute background research, Tracie McMillan takes us for an eye-opening, heart-rending tour of the corporate food chain. Along the way we meet unforgettable people who, at great personal cost, labor hard so that we can eat cheaply and easily. Having seen what it takes to move our meals from farm to table, the reader will emerge shaken, enlightened, and forever thankful."

-- Warren Belasco, author of "Appetite for Change" and "Meals to Come"

About the Author:

A working-class transplant from rural Michigan, Brooklyn-based writer Tracie McMillan has written about food and class for a variety of publications including, The New York Times; O, The Oprah Magazine; Harper's Magazine; Saveur; and Slate. After putting herself through New York University, she began reporting and from 2001 to 2005 she was the managing editor of the award-winning magazine City Limits. There, she won recognition from organizations ranging from the James Beard Foundation to World Hunger Year. Follow her at TracieMcMillan.com or @TMMcMillan.

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