How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal
About the Book
PANDORA’S LUNCHBOX tells the story of what happens to processed foods before they reach our plates (or are handed to us through a car window.) With packaged foods and fast foods so ubiquitous — comprising roughly 70 percent of the calories we consume — it’s easy to overlook the fact that our diets have changed more in the last 100 years than they have in the last 10,000. Much of what we now eat is not so much as cooked, as it is engineered into finely-tuned, nutrient-deficient creations of science.
Former New York Times business reporter Melanie Warner offers a rare look inside the monumentally complex edifice of America’s food manufacturing industry and presents a case for why our high-tech, Byzantine system of food processing is of profound importance to a nation of eaters who are overweight, and half of whom suffer from at least one diet-related chronic disease. The book takes us inside the labs and high-tech facilities that help churn out the cheapest, most abundant, most addictive and most nutritionally devastating food in the world. We learn how some of our most popular foods are produced and meet the people who, today and over the past century, have helped redefine what Americans eat.
Combining meticulous research, historical and cultural analysis, and vivid writing, Warner delves into the hidden world of food processing. From the origins of the FDA to the presence of soybean oil in nearly everything, PANDORA’S LUNCHBOX exposes the industries that create much of what we eat today and that are partly to blame for our nation’s health crisis.
What They’re Saying About the Book
Melanie Warner’s new book about processed food is so much fun that you might forget how depressing it all is…..There are more Holy Cow! moments here than even someone who thinks he or she knows what’s going on in food production could predict.
— Mark Bitttman, The New York Times
— Wall Street Journal
A well-researched, nonpreachy, worthwhile read.
— Kirkus Reviews
Warner’s thought-provoking study does an excellent job presenting the facts without sensationalizing, and offering common sense solutions to those seeking to make better food choices.
— Publishers Weekly
Much as the 2008 documentary Food, Inc. attacked commercially farmed milk and meat, Pandora’s Lunchbox assaults the rest of the food available in the grocery aisles. Warner’s appetite-suppressing depiction of processed foods is sure to inspire readers to consider how they eat.
— The Onion‘s AV Club
If you’re concerned about food safety and the perils of the agricultural-gastronomic complex, this book is indispensable.
Well-researched and well-reviewed, this book avoids the easy polemics of other writers and presents a solid case for ‘cleaning up’ our food supply.
— Utica Observer-Dispatch
Warner pulls back the curtain to reveal the industry secrets of how our most basic staples are being transformed into processed foodstuffs to boost profits. We get an (un)healthy dose of hexane-extraction, gun puffing and roast chicken type flavor, but like the best investigative journalists, she uses the personal stories of food scientists, innovators and crusaders not to mention her own home experiments, to show why you’ll want to think twice before hitting the drive-thru or reaching for that “health bar.”
— Robert Kenner, director and producer of Food, Inc.
Melanie Warner is a journalist of keen skill, and in Pandora’s Lunchbox, she pries the lid off well-packaged secrets about how our so-called food is made. The resulting bounty of insights and revelations is almost overwhelming. This is a book of stunning, at times shocking, truths, told in a crisp, compelling. Of profound importance for everyone who eats.
— David L. Katz, M.D., Director of Yale University Prevention Research Center and Director of the Integrative Medicine at Griffin Hospital
Pandora’s Lunchbox is a brilliant and fascinating exploration of how our food gets processed, its powerful effects on our health, and what we can do about it. Highly recommended!
— Dean Ornish, M.D., author of Eat More, Weigh Less and The Spectrum: A Scientifically Proven Program to Feel Better, Live Longer, Lose Weight, and Gain Health
In Pandora’s Lunchbox, Melanie Warner has produced an engaging account of how today’s ‘food processing industrial complex’ replaced real food with the inventions of food science. Her history of how this happened and who benefits from these inventions should be enough to inspire everyone to get back into the kitchen and start cooking.
— Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University and coauthor of Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics
The best book I’ve read on food in years.
— Bill Marler, food safety advocate, manager director Marler Clark
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