Real Food, Fake Food was a very long book to listen to during my commutes. Unfortunately, I ran out of time and the first time that I borrowed it from the library and it was automatically returned. It was tempting to just give up at this point but I had invested so much time, that I put a hold on the book to finish listening to it. After 12 hours of listening, I have a list of food to reconsider, food to avoid and food to discover.
I will never buy parmesan cheese or should I say cheese-like product again. Who knew that his popular topping is extended with wood filler? Looking at the label of the container in the fridge, I discovered that cellulose was, in fact, a key ingredient. We often buy the real cheese and grate it but sometimes the shakeable product came in handy – not anymore!! I will pay more attention at the origin of my cheese!
This book reinforced that I am glad that I am not a seafood lover. It is hard to believe how much fake fish is packaged incorrectly to dupe unsuspecting customers. Not only is fish purposely exchanged for cheaper types of fish, but it can be bred and produced in ways that are not palatable. I did not realize that salmon (or even salmon like alternatives) are dyed to have that pink colour!
Olive oil is another interesting chapter – I now know that “pure” is not the word that I want to see on the label and that it is likely the worst olive oil sold. Buying small bottles is important as it tends to go rancid – apparently some producers even start with some oil that is rancid!
It is likely a good thing that my husband grinds his own coffee beans. Although the beans may be exchanged for cheaper beans, at least he is not drinking coffee made with other items ground up to extend the actual coffee. Tea and spices may be adulterated with other items like sticks and weeds also.
In the end, the key advice was to read labels, be aware and cook your own food. The less the amount of processing, the less chance of contamination, adulteration and fakery. If you ever eat processed frozen pizza you might not want to read the last chapter of the book!
While there was a lot of interesting information, the book needed a stronger editor. At times there was too much detail and repetition between chapters. Discussing all the cheese at the same time would have been helpful rather than having a chapter on parmesan at the beginning and a subsequent chapter about other cheeses later including repetitive information about parmesan. I have the same comment on combining the Kobe beef section with the other meat information. Better organization would improve the flow of this book.
Overall, there was some good information, I learned new information and I will think twice when I shop in the future!
It’s scary, isn’t it? That last chapter might be a good one to read to the kids! 😉