I finished this book a couple weeks ago. It surprisingly came off as relatively non-biased, even though it takes on an industry that is not only unfavorable but basically terrifying. Almost every aspect that this book covers of the american food industry has a sympathetic character at some point, from owners of franchises to cattle ranchers. It's definitely one of those fact-confirming books, like everyone has ideas about the horrid things that happen within the food industry, and this confirms it, and then goes into detail about it. Some things that were mega-interesting to me was that the flavor of most food (the processed kind) is completely designed and engineered in a lab and that the difference between "natural" flavors and "artificial" flavors is basically non-existent. It was also really fascinating to read about how the "cleanest" meat usually ends up in fast food and that the gnarliest meat, the stuff that can't be sold to the general public, is instead used in school lunches. I know that this idea is obvious and everything, but it's completely deplorable that this country puts so little value into education, even down to the food that's provided. School food always makes me think of this time I had a job taking yearbook photos, and I was at some Olympia school working and they had a huge cart of vegetables in the main hallway, and it was totally fine for kids to just leave class for a vegetable break and go and grab some carrot sticks. It was the coolest thing ever!!!!!
This subject also makes me think of the slow food movement. There are a lot of aspects that I completely agree with and am excited about, such as making a connection between what's on your plate, where it came from, and how it got there, or sustainability, or the idea of preserving regional differences and stopping the homogenization of the world. However, and slow food advocates continually deny this, but there is such a huge class gap in this that I feel like a lot of these ideas are rendered useless. A couple weeks ago there was this whole slow food festival weekend, and past the fact that they made some of the civic center grounds into a garden, almost nothing was free. All the workshops and lectures and stuff were all in the $20 range, while actual slow food meal parties or whatever tended to land in the $50 range. The parts of the population (and I'm mainly talking about the U.S. here) that would benefit the most from education about these ideas, and implementing these ideas into everyday life are poor people and people below the poverty line, and at this point the slow food movement doesn't seem to have taken the time to reach out to and include these populations into the movement. I think it would be much more valuable and revolutionary to take these basically anti-corporate ideas and make them so they weren't so built for upper-middle class.