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.
that they don’t want the good stuff, but that they can’t easily make it a regular part of the lives. The demand is there, but the means to exercise it is not. There are simple fixes that could bring that demand out of hiding. One is to build on the success of programs such as the Double-Up Food Bucks program that lured Patti to Eastern Market and expand them to everyone—not just the poorest among us, who have no monopoly on the need to consume more fruits and vegetables. I haven’t found research
Original reporting notes can be found on www.americanwayofeating.com. 81 in this case, The Garlic Company. (Ibid.) 82 where more than half of American garlic ends up. In 2007, a total of 22,177 acres of garlic were grown in California, accounting for 84.8 percent of all American garlic, nationwide 54.6 percent went to processing, while approximately 56 percent of California did. (Author’s calculations, based on National Agricultural Statistics Service 2009a) 82 $51.20 per hundredweight . . .
bags of chopped romaine lettuce from Dole cost Walmart $8.12, or $1.35 each, and were sold for $2.50, a markup of 85 percent. (Walmart Stores, Inc. 2010c, 1) To see images of the inventory documents and a spreadsheet charting costs, go to www.americanwayofeating.com. 155 half an entire town’s produce supply. In 2011, there were three stores selling groceries and produce in Belleville: Walmart, Meijer (a regional competitor to Walmart) and Belle Foods. While sales data for each store was not
Organization found that lower-income, and less-educated, people actually value organic production more than higher-income people (whether they buy it is another matter). While 51 percent of respondents with less than a high school diploma place very high or extremely high importance on organic production systems, only 35 percent of those with a college degree or more education think similarly. Likewise, respondents with an annual household annual income under $40,000 place greater importance on
her on her rounds—enough to see that we were missing a lot of our COOL labels. The inspector only reported one infraction, but the rumor on the floor is that the COOL problem is why we’re getting a price audit—an inspection making sure that everything is displayed and priced correctly—from corporate next week. For that, upper management wants every bin to overflow with produce and has been putting in orders for more than usual. There’s also a new “mod” layout—a complete reconfiguration of where