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, a former managing editor of the award-winning magazine "City Limits", has written about food and class for a variety of publications, including the "New York Times", "Harper's Magazine", and "Slate".