You've seen the headlines: Parmesan cheese made from sawdust. Lobster rolls containing no lobster at all. Extra-virgin olive oil that isn't. Fake foods are in our supermarkets, our restaurants, and our kitchen cabinets. Award-winning food journalist and travel writer Larry Olmsted exposes this pervasive and dangerous fraud perpetrated on unsuspecting Americans.
Real Food, Fake Food brings listeners into the unregulated food industry, revealing that this shocking deception extends from high-end foods like olive oil, wine, and Kobe beef to everyday staples such as coffee, honey, juice, and cheese. It's a massive bait and switch where counterfeiting is rampant and where the consumer ultimately pays the price.
But Olmsted does more than show us what foods to avoid. A bona fide gourmand, he travels to the sources of the real stuff to help us recognize what to look for, eat, and savor: genuine Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy, fresh-caught grouper from Florida, authentic port from Portugal. Real foods that are grown, raised, produced, and prepared with care by masters of their crafts.
©2016 Larry Olmsted (P)2016 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
"Narrator Jonathan Yen's conversational, expressive style makes it easy for listeners to absorb the sometimes surprising information about the food they think they're purchasing.... Yen deftly handles the required accents as author Olmsted travels around the world...." (AudioFile)
While I enjoyed the education about fake foods I was disappointed in how many foods were covered. I think he could have spent less time on each of the foods he covered and broadened the food selection.
The narration was enthusiastic. While I agree with other reviews that it was at times comical when the narrator put on one of his accents.
The book is definitely educational and I have recommended it to lots of friends already.
SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!
While I found "Real Food, Fake Food" informative and intriguing, it did go waaaay into depth about just a few foods. What it did go into was shocking, mind numbingly so. We buy anything if we're told just the right amount of information. There was one humorous bit where the author is dining with a woman who KNOWS cheese, and what they're about to grate on her dinner is NOT what they say it is. She wants to SEE the cheese, darn it!
I suppose I thought there'd be more about the industrialization of food that we eat, the chemicals that are addictive, but it wasn't that. It was about the duping of the public.
And we're buying it.
Good book, decent narration. I wouldn't spend a whole credit on it, though. But I am looking at the food on the shelves with a far narrower eye...!
As a person who is trying to pay more attention to my health, I purchased this book expecting to hear about things like fillers in my hamburger meat, hidden chemicals lurking in my produce, and carcinogens in my lunch meat. That's not what this book is about at all. Instead, it is a lengthy and nauseatingly detailed description of cheap "imposter" foods masquerading as the more expensive real thing. While this subject may be of great concern to gourmet food fanatics, it is of little practical value to someone like me, who would never consider spending my entire paycheck on 4 ounces of sliced Kobe beef in the first place.
After a brief teaser of counterfeit food facts, the author launches into a tedious and hyper-detailed description of how real Parmesan cheese, Balsamic vinegar, and Prosciutto ham are made. It is not until 1 hour & 10 minutes into this 12-hour book that he gets anywhere near a point. I am somewhat interested in the subject of "food fraud", but I don't need a detailed history of the creation of the real food items to appreciate this, and I wish the author had made more efficient use of his time to delve more deeply into the facts of the counterfeit food industry
The author spends each one+ hour chapter discussing the history and creation process of a single food item such as olive oil, Kobe beef, or Champagne before ever getting around to explaining how to find the real thing.
I am a simple, working class person and as such I do not have unlimited income to fly to the Parma region of Italy to sample their cheeses or hams. Nor have I been to the burgundy region of France to experience the real wines of that region. Since I have never had the pleasure of tasting any of these expensive gourmet food items, I don't really share the author's obvious outrage at the existence of imitations and fakery. In fact, fakes are my only realistic chance of ever experiencing even a hint of what these foods are supposed to taste like. Though the information presented in this book may help me to make better choices, I stand about as much chance of ever tasting these unique and famous delicacies as I do of owning my own private mega-yacht .
Imagine you are meeting your pretentious friend at a coffee shop, and while you're rummaging in your pockets to scrape together a few dollars to pay for your drink, your friend is complaining that the Learjet he just purchased for his own private use turned out to be an imitation. A mere "common" jet. How many tears would you shed in sympathy for your poor friend's suffering? That's about my level of empathy for the author's outrage over counterfeit foods. I don't begrudge his right to pay $3000 for an excellent bottle of wine, I just can't quite identify with his problems.
On a positive note, I did appreciate the author's willingness to point fingers and name names of offending companies and brands. Likewise, he also names specific brands and places where you can obtain the real thing.
Overall, my biggest disappointment with this book is the amount of time the author devotes to each individual food product. Had he spent a mere 30 minutes discussing each item instead of more than an hour, he could have covered twice as much information without sounding so much like an arrogant over-privileged elitist.
I now feel 1000% more educated about the food I buy every day. The author gives not only solid evidence of how fake food has infiltrated our food supply, but some pretty solid recommendations that I intend to start following immediately. I wish somebody in the FDA would read this book!
I will never think about life--and food in particular--the same way again after listening to this book. That, to me, is the hallmark of a great book. The narrator does an amazing job of giving life and country-specific nuance to those interviewed in the book. The author makes your mouth water at the real food descriptions (I'm planning a trip to get some of what he described) and makes you angry that such fakery is allowed to occur in this country.
This is one of the most rewarding book on food I've read. As the title stated, it's not only about fake foods, but real foods as well. The author's style is a bit redundant, but if you can get past the wordiness there are some very good info on how some foods are made and where they come from. The most enjoyable aspect I found is the appreciation for cultures and places that the foods originated.
At the end of each chapters it gives informative recommendation on how to identify the real stuff and where to get them. It's mainly about cheese, wine, oil, fish, and beef, so it's not all encompassing. However, the information provided will allow you to think more critically and buy more carefully the next time you shop.
The book definitely expanded my horizon in the world of cheese which I quickly went out and bought some after reading.
I had no idea about slave labor used for harvesting commonly purchased shrimp. I will never ever buy shrimp at grocery store again unless origin is clearly stated.
Mr. Olmsted's information regarding false advertising of seafood.
Only complaint is narrator's pronunciation of Kobe, Japan. I lived in Kobe for two years teaching English. Kobe is pronounced KO-BAY... NOT KOBEE.
Avoid specialty foods such as shrimp, scallops, etc. unless you buy them from the source.
This is a very important book as most people aren't yet aware how broken our food system is. Very eye-opening. Recommended for anyone who cares what goes into their body!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I learned a lot about the "food" I do eat and what I want to be eating. It will definitely have an impact on my future shopping, cooking, and eating. I listened to the audio version and will be using the ebook version for future reference. Some details from prior chapters are used throughout for comparative reference which at times seemed too repetitive. If you care about your health, read this book. If you love food, read this book.
Lots of good information. Sometimes too much information. Narration would be better without the attempt at Italian accents when mentioning or quoting Italian items. This is a must for people who take food and health seriously.
"Interesting & fully researched"
Pleased to find another book on the topic that's backed up by evidence & personal experience by the author. Narrator was good but few people can get away with imitating accents without it sounding either comical or vaguely (though unintentionally I'm sure) insulting.
"Probably the worst book I have ever listened to."
the only good thing about this book is the narrator.
I listened to the whole book to just see if there was any redeeming things further down.
Unfortunately it is just a marketing book for an ignorant rich person who needs to be scared into buying even more expensive goods in even more expensive places.
the only real advice in it - eat whole foods and read the ingredients.
I wasted a lot of time listening to this, so hope it will save someone else the time and money.
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