The American Way of Eating (Hardcover)

Undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table

By Tracie McMillan

Scribner Book Company, 9781439171950, 336pp.

Publication Date: February 21, 2012

List Price: 25.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


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.

About the Author

Tracie McMillan has written about food, poverty, and the politics of both for The New York Times, Harper's Magazine, Mother Jones, Slate, Saveur and Gastronomica, among others. She received her BA in political science from New York University in 1999 and became the managing editor of the award-winning, independent magazine City Limits, where she won numerous awards and honors for her features on poverty and food.

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