A fascinating book that charts America’s love-hate relationship with foodA 1936 article identified the consumption of food for health rather than for pleasure as a feature of American culture: “Here it is the gourmet who is the curiosity, the dietitian who is the prophet.” Historian Harvey Levenstein’s fascinating and important book charts America’s love-hate relationship with food. He is especially critical of the roles played by eminent scientists and public agencies in stoking fears. As America grew more urban and middle class, it lost touch with the producers of food and began to swallow the advice of scientists who warned that “taste was the least reliable guide to healthy eating”. Food fads (“vitamania”) and scares (“lipophobia”, fear of fat) swept the nation. Chemical preservatives went from being “triumphs of modern science” to poisons. Beef was transformed “from the pride of the American table into a one-way ticket to the cardiac ward”. Science, industrialisation and globalisation have made fear of food into “a permanent condition of middle-class life”. There are no certain answers to questions about food and health, and Levenstein argues convincingly that scientists and journalists should show greater caution before telling us what to eat.Food and drinkScience and natureSocietyPD …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books