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The UK's most influential food and drink journalist shoots a few sacred cows of food culture. The doctrine of local food is dead. Farmers' markets are merely a lifestyle choice for the affluent middle classes. And 'organic' has become little more than a marketing label that is way past its sell-by date. That may be a little hard to swallow for the ethically aware food shopper, but it doesn't make it any less true. And now the UK's most outspoken and entertaining food writer is ready to explain why.
This engaging, witty, and honest narrative is driven by the appetite of one large man: Jay Rayner - someone who lives to eat, but also understands that there is a world beyond the high-end obsessions of the farmers’ market. Combining sharply observed memoir - growing up with the UK's most famous agony aunt who also happened to be a bloody good TV chef; witnessing the arrival of McDonald’s and Dayville’s ice cream in 70s London; working as a butcher’s boy - with hard-nosed reportage, Jay Rayner will blow conventional foodie wisdom apart. For here is the reality: within a few decades we will have nine billion mouths to feed, and we won’t be doing that by flogging free-range chickens from a stall in Borough market.
Jay explains why the doctrine of organic has been eclipsed by the need for sustainable intensification; and why the future lies in large-scale food production rather than the cottage industries that foodies often cheer for. From the cornfields of Illinois to the killing lines of Yorkshire abattoirs, Rayner takes us on a journey that will change the way we shop, cook and eat forever. And give us a few belly laughs along the way.
I liked this book a lot and have so far listened through it twice. As a sort of "state of the food nation" exploration, it is of its time but luckily (I'm writing this mid-2013) that time is now. I learned a lot and had some of my ideas turned on their heads. For example, food miles aren't always a bad thing.
Jay Rayner is an entertaining and energetic reader of his own book and tells his stories very well. It's all from a cosily middle class perspective, but, since that is what he is (and he doesn't shy away from obvious truths such as this) he emerges as an informed, engaged and honest reporter. The mix of anecdote and fact is, for the most part, very well judged.
In short, if you are interested in the food you eat this is a book that will entertain and educate...all a rattling pace.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
An interesting insight into the food industry. Well argued, entertaining, and brilliantly narrated. If you have any interest in food and where it comes from, this is an essential listen, even if you disagree, its food for thought (pun intended).
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Very well written and interesting book. Makes you think a lot! Talks about global food sustainability, the planet, organic world, environment etc.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
What did you like most about A Greedy Man in a Hungry World?
Facts about the food we eat and the world food situation
Would you be willing to try another book from Jay Rayner? Why or why not?
Possibly not. The interesting facts are interspersed with long-winded autobiographical sections which I did not find in the least interesting.
What aspect of Jay Rayner’s performance might you have changed?
The auto-biographical narrations.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Unless, that is, you prefer being fed utopian alternatives by over-idealistic nice campaigners ;) _
Would you consider the audio edition of A Greedy Man in a Hungry World to be better than the print version?
Never read the print version but as it is read by Jay Rayner he talks about his life with passion and interest
What was one of the most memorable moments of A Greedy Man in a Hungry World?
His Mum the late Claire Rayner receiving a large wooden gentleman's member through the post! Hilarious I spat my drink out in laughter.
What does Jay Rayner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
As it is part biography, part investigation into viable food, I don't think anyone else could have narrated it better.
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
Wooden Cock'oleaky Soup.
Any additional comments?
If you are a foodie and prepared to hear the truth about sustainable foods, gm crops, food mile and organic food, then buy this book!
1 of 2 people found this review helpful