Kitchen Nightmares

The Washington Spectator • March 1, 2012

If you want people to eat healthy, why make it so expensive?”

So asks a Brooklyn teenager in the question at the heart of Tracie McMillan’s ambitious The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table. Writers on food rarely focus on why people eat what they do when their choices are scant. McMillan, a journalist who has long covered a poverty beat, wants to know how it is that the American food system fails to yield accessible fresh food for people of modest means.

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The High Price of Food

Book Page • March 2012

When journalist Tracie McMillan covered a cooking class run by a youth services agency in New York City, she got to know one of the teenage students. Vanessa, who liked fruits and vegetables, knew that she should eat better. But eating healthy was so expensive, and Burger King was so close.

McMillan, who has written about food, poverty and the politics of both for publications such as the New York Times and Harper’s Magazine, got curious. Why can’t everyone get access to the same food?

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Our Unhappy Meals

OnEarth • Feb. 29, 2012

Every year, Americans drop a cool $1.2 trillion on feeding their appetites. That’s a lot of Big Macs and stuffed-to-groaning shopping carts — and billions of dollars in profits for the handful of companies that dominate our food system.

Planting, harvesting, processing, displaying, and cooking that vast hoard of grub, of course, requires veritable armies of workers. Keeping it cheap and plentiful for consumers, while also profitable for the food industry, means those workers generally get paid very little.

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The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan

GoodFood World • Feb. 29, 2012

What if you can’t afford nine-dollar tomatoes? That was the question award-winning journalist Tracie McMillan couldn’t escape as she watched the debate about America’s meals unfold, one that urges us to pay food’s true cost—which is to say, pay more. So in 2009 McMillan embarked on a groundbreaking undercover journey to see what it takes to eat well in America. For nearly a year, she worked, ate, and lived alongside the working poor to examine how Americans eat when price matters.

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Susan Ager gives #AWE a nice writeup over @StribBooks in Minneapolis!

From Susan Ager’s thoughtful review of The American Way of Eating for Minneapolis’ Star Tribune: these pages will leave you with vivid, challenging images of how food is harvested, sold and prepared (loosely speaking) at casual restaurants

Is there something wrong with the way we eat?

Metro • Feb. 27, 2012

According to the panel of experts at Housing Work’s “The Anti-Food Foodies,” a discussion organized to celebrate the publication of Tracie McMillan’s “The American Way of Eating,” that answer is yes.

“The American Way of Eating” is a first person account of how food is grown, picked, and processed, and consumed in this country. McMillan starts at the farm level, picking a sorting various crops from grapes to garlic before moving on to jobs at Walmart and then finally an Applebees in New York City.

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Following the bumpy path of modern food: A reporter spends a year in the food industry

Star Tribune • Feb. 24, 2012

If you’ve given any thought to how food finds its way to your mouth, you won’t be surprised by Tracie McMillan’s undercover reporting.

But these pages will leave you with vivid, challenging images of how food is harvested, sold and prepared (loosely speaking) at casual restaurants. You may, like the author, reel from the heat of California’s Central Valley farm fields.

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