Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, from Sustainable to Suicidal

Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, from Sustainable to Suicidal

3.84 (787 ratings by Goodreads)
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The history of Homo sapiens is usually told as a story of technology or economics. But there is a more fundamental driver: food. How we hunted and gathered explains our emergence as a new species and our earliest technology; our first food systems, from fire to agriculture, tell where we settled and how civilisations expanded. The quest for food for growing populations drove exploration, colonialism, slavery, even capitalism.

A century ago, food was industrialised. Since then, new styles of agriculture and food production have written a new chapter of human history, one that's driving both climate change and global health crises. Best-selling food authority Mark Bittman offers a panoramic view of the story and explains how we can rescue ourselves from the modern wrong turn.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 384 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 38.1mm | 580.6g
  • Boston, United States
  • English
  • 1328974626
  • 9781328974624
  • 68,401

Review quote

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice "Epic and engrossing...a clear and compelling compendium of modern agriculture....[Bittman] has earned the right to damn the evident flaws of our system."--The New York Times Book Review "An expert's vigorous argument for systemic food reform."--Kirkus Reviews "Little in the present food world escapes [Bittman's] critical eye...[his] work is certain to increase controversy over the future of food."--Booklist "The climate crisis, COVID-19, and the recent reckoning with systemic and institutional racism have all revealed the many cracks in our global food system. In this thorough and revealing book, Mark Bittman discusses how we got to this point when reform is so essential, and presents the solutions to improve how we grow, distribute, and consume our food. A must read for policymakers, activists, and concerned citizens looking to better understand our food system, and how we can fix it."--Vice President Al Gore "Compelling and ambitious, Bittman's Animal, Vegetable, Junk is the authoritative text on the 1.8 million year history of the food system. We begin our journey with the first taming of fire to hunt and cook, witness the use of fire in indigenous swidden agriculture to prepare the ground, and finally arrive at the fanning of revolutionary fire of peasant farmers organizing against multinational agribusiness. Bittman leaves no stone unturned in the quest to understand how Big Food expropriated our land, water, and sustenance. Everyone who eats needs to read this book. The future of our species and our planet depends on it."--Leah Penniman, founding co-director of Soul Fire Farm and author of Farming While Black "Eating well, as Mark Bittman has taught so many of us over the years, is as much about collective health as it is about elegant recipes. In his most radical and profound book to date, Bittman brings his trademark wit, precision, and user-friendliness to a sweeping history of sustenance. The result is a joyful and transformational read."--Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything "A brilliant and insightful explanation of the food system. Bittman's writing is succinct and entertaining, and his recommendations are spot on."--David A. Kessler, M.D., former FDA commissioner and author of The End of Overeating and Fast Carbs, Slow Carbs "It's easy to be jealous of Mark Bittman. He knows how to cook everything, and he writes so clearly that you'll feel you can too. Now, he brings his prodigious talents to a history of how we eat. Once again, he has trimmed the fat and delivered it all. From the origins of the human diet to the World Trade Organization, you'll find how they're all connected in a broken food system. And his analysis is so compelling, you'll not only understand what's wrong, but also how to start to make it better."--Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved "If you, like me, think and worry about what you eat and also about the planet that is actually providing sustenance to you--and the other 7 billion of us--you need to read this amazing book. You also, as Mr. Bittman suggests, need to become an eater and an advocate, and push for the policy change needed to give everyone access to the nutritious food necessary to survive and thrive."--Ted Danson, actor and activist "This is the perfect book for this moment in time, and Mark is the perfect person to write it"--Alice Waters, chef, activist, and author "There is a saying: 'Humans are what they eat.' Yes, what isn't our food connected to? Food is crucial for our survival, our health, our welfare, our land, our laws, our energy supplies, our water, and almost everything else. Mark Bittman's thought-provoking, wide-ranging new book will open your eyes to the crisis facing our food system, and to the world impact of every bite that you eat."--Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse
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About Mark Bittman

Mark Bittman is the author of thirty acclaimed books, including How to Cook Everything. He was a New York Times columnist for more than two decades and has hosted four TV series, including the Emmy-winning Years of Living Dangerously. He is currently on faculty at Columbia University and editor-in-chief of Heated. He lives in Philipstown, New York.
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Rating details

787 ratings
3.84 out of 5 stars
5 26% (208)
4 41% (324)
3 24% (192)
2 6% (51)
1 2% (12)
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