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Publisher's Summary

In Grocery, best-selling author Michael Ruhlman offers incisive commentary on America's relationship with its food and investigates the overlooked source of so much of it - the grocery store.

In a culture obsessed with food - how it looks, what it tastes like, where it comes from, what is good for us - there are often more questions than answers. Ruhlman proposes that the best practices for consuming wisely could be hiding in plain sight - in the aisles of your local supermarket. Using the human story of the family-run Midwestern chain Heinen's as an anchor to this journalistic narrative, he dives into the mysterious world of supermarkets and the ways in which we produce, consume, and distribute food. Grocery examines how rapidly supermarkets - and our food and culture - have changed since the days of your friendly neighborhood grocer. But rather than waxing nostalgic for the age of mom-and-pop shops, Ruhlman seeks to understand how our food needs have shifted since the mid-20th century and how these needs mirror our cultural ones.

A mix of reportage and rant, personal history and social commentary, Grocery is a landmark book from one of our most insightful food writers.

©2017 Michael Ruhlman (P)2017 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • TerriD
  • Kirtland Ohio
  • 08-24-18

Easy read fun book

This one was easy and fun to listen to. I enjoyed learning a lot about Heinen’s and grocery stores in general.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

It's ok

I had great hopes for this book, and I did learn a few things about the grocery industry, but many of those things were depressing. I don't live in a community with the kinds of fresh and purposely acquired fancy foods that Heineman's carries and now my grocery store pales by comparison. I enjoyed the history of the industry, but that could have happened in far fewer pages. And in the end, what I will remember most about the writing style was Ruhlman's lists of grocery items, in one chapter all the frozen foods, in another all the produce. I didn't really need that.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good book - slow in the middle

Great book covering all the bases of the grocery industry. Brings a nice personal touch to the subject with his fathers story. It gets a little bogged down in the middle with the details of meat processing and other stuff not grocery related but ends up strong. Would recommend!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Surprisingly Gripping

Who knew a story about grocery stores could so captivate. Days later I can't stop thinking about it.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Andy
  • Westport, CT, United States
  • 09-08-17

a close look with the arc of history

Interesting coverage of an Ohio based, family run chain of supermarkets. The book does a nice job identifying how the family run chains (which are billion dollar companies) operate and compete against the giants of the industry.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A very nice listen and I feel a must for anyone who loves food

Grocery was an excellent listen to and I work in the grocery industry so perhaps I might be a bit biased but I feel that it taught me a great deal more about what I deal with seemingly everyday and what I don't deal with behind the scenes to give me a greater respect for what mine and other companies deal with.

The ending as well touched me deeply and made me smile a little thinking about my own past shopping at the store I now work at and is letting me look at it with new eyes as not just a job but in a way a part of who I was and am now for the better.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent writing as usual...

I was hoping for a deeper focus on non-independent groceries... solving those tasks where money is a huge factor in having enough to survive isn't mentioned ... neither is the fact that small groceries are too expensive for anyone on assistance.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Kate
  • LOS ALAMOS, NM, United States
  • 05-21-17

Unscientific fear-mongering

Would you try another book from Michael Ruhlman and/or Jonathan Todd Ross?

No - Micheal Ruhlman has spread unscientific fear-mongering. I will never try another book from him again.

The narrator - Jonathan Todd Ross - was fine.

Has Grocery turned you off from other books in this genre?

No

What about Jonathan Todd Ross’s performance did you like?

Took a little while for him to grab his stride, but once he did he made this non-fiction book almost sound like a narrative.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Grocery?

I'd cut all the stuff that is unscientific and bolsters a fear of science and farmers.

Any additional comments?

It was fine until he got into organic not using pesticides (they do) or GMOs being dangerous (they're not). As such, I'm returning the book and giving it the rating that fear-mongering deserves - 1 star.

7 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Almost perfect

Would you consider the audio edition of Grocery to be better than the print version?

I only listen to books, never read

What was one of the most memorable moments of Grocery?

The cereal isle

What does Jonathan Todd Ross bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I bet bored reading, listening I can do walking my do

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Made me want to change shopping habits

Any additional comments?

would have given it 5 star but hemissed a large issue - where does expired food go. My friend is CEO of a large grocery chain (more stores than the group in this book) and it is interesting to what happens to expired food. Would have been a great way to finish the story.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful