In Harvey Levenstein’s new book, Fear of Food: A History of Why We Worry about What We Eat, we spend a great deal of time wallowing in the early 1900’s. As a Jewish girl from Los Angeles, I felt like I was being followed down the grocery aisle by my mother. Scratch that, my grandmother.
When I read the title of the book, I had high hopes. I anticipated getting a better understanding of my own food issues. To put it plainly: I’m a picky eater. I avoid bread (bad, bad, evil carbs), I don’t eat processed foods (most of the time), I try to buy organic and, when possible, I eat local. Did this book explain any of my “issues” to me? No. Well, mostly no.
Levenstein, a professor emeritus of history, sets forth in his preface to “uncover the forces that have lead to Americans inability to enjoy eating.” He goes on to say that he will regard his book as a success “if he can help lessen even a few people’s anxieties and increase the pleasure they get from eating.”
Read the entire piece, originally published on The Inquisitive Eater.