In this amiable set of observations about the way we eat, Staten ( Real Barbecue ) takes readers on an eye-opening trip through the supermarket. Starting in the produce section of his local Winn-Dixie in Louisville, Ky., Staten wends through aisles of fresh fruit and prepared foods, reflecting on each item he and his wife add to their cart. A tomato leads to a discussion of its seven-day journey from being green on a Mexican vine to being ``unnaturally red'' on a winter market shelf. A jar of Jif peanut butter engenders a replay of the legal maneuvering between the FDA and the Peanut Butter Association that led to a 1971 compromise that peanut butter must be at least 90% peanuts. Neither an analysis of agribusiness nor a food memoir, this is a collection of reflections and information that, through accrual, becomes an entertaining social history of the supermarket and its contents. What's more, the book's chockablock mix of facts is so engaging that readers may find themselves thinking things like ``I didn't know that sliced bread wasn't widely available until 1930.'' A list of references would have been useful. (July)
This lighthearted look at the development of American supermarkets and famous brand-name foods is not intended for the health-conscious reader concerned about nutrition. Staten's entertaining investigation is actually a trivia book about food packed with historical information and generously spiced with humor. While accompanying Staten through the aisles of his local supermarket, the reader receives a brief history of the supermarket and is then treated to fun-filled folklore about his favorite foods. Staten readily reveals the origins of the ice cream cone, the number of supermarket shopping cart accidents per year, great dates in food history, what foods consumers crave when they are in different moods, etc. Although not an essential purchase, this little book will appeal to many general readers looking for amusing nonfiction.-- Linda Chopra, Cleveland Heights-University Heights P.L., Ohio
Almost anything you ever wanted (or didn't want) to know about the manufacturing, packaging, and processing of common food items is here--aisle by aisle. Wonder about the beginnings of the modern grocery store? The first one appeared in 1861 in Manhattan, under the name "The Great American Tea Company" (later changed to A&P). What's "25 in '95"? The candy industry's goal for how much every American will consume of sweets--in pounds--by 1995. What's the linkage between peanut butter sales and the U.S. economy? Ask Procter & Gamble. A humorous and informative compilation.