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Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World

Gina Mallet
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Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Format: Non-Fiction
Cuisine: Social Commentary


Gremolata's Dean Tudor made this book one of his picks of the month!

This book is by Gina Mallet, a former Toronto drama critic who now writes about food for many diverse publications. Here she does a part-food memoir, part- food history, part-food recipe approach. She remembers the days, when as a young girl, she could eat reasonably well, free of additives and genetic modification and the like. Today, food is in the news, and it is usually bad: diet problems, additives, GMs, nutritional guidelines which change, politics, obesity, cancer related scares, vitamins (both overuse and deficiencies).

Sections deal with eggs, raw-milk cheese such as brie, beef, fish, and the kitchen garden with peas, tomatoes and apples. Mallet had strong memories of food, and bemoans the absence of the hearth and Vesta in today’s communities and homes. Of particular interest to Mallet is the food chain, which involves cannibalism for farmed animals and fish (mad cows, scarpie), organic gardening, wholesaling and transportation and eating out of season, and perplexing flip-flops about food (remember when eggs were bad for you? when margarine was good for you? when Olestra was the promised land for fatties?).

She presents one astounding conclusion: McDonalds is doing better than the government in regulating animal cruelty and meat safety. She loves the UK's Harrods food halls (as it used to be), and the visions of Escoffier. Her book brings a European sensibility to North America. Recipes are from a wide variety of sources, but are only one part of this book. She has a bibliography for further reading, and it contains the basic food history and culture texts.


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