Synopses & Reviews
What Tom Vanderbilt did for traffic and Brian Wansink did for mindless eating, Jonathan Bloom does for food waste. The topic couldnt be timelier: As more people are going hungry while simultaneously more people are morbidly obese, American Wasteland
sheds light on the history, culture, and mindset of waste while exploring the parallel eco-friendly and sustainable-food movements. As the era of unprecedented prosperity comes to an end, its time to reexamine our culture of excess.
Working at both a local grocery store and a major fast food chain and volunteering with a food recovery group, Bloom also interviews expertsfrom Brian Wansink to Alice Waters to Nobel Prizewinning economist Amartya Senand digs up not only why and how we waste, but, more importantly, what we can do to change our ways.
"Since the Great Depression and the world wars, the American attitude toward food has gone from a 'use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without' patriotic and parsimonious duty to an orgy of 'grab-and-go' where food's fetish and convenience qualities are valued above sustainability or nutrition. Journalist Bloom follows the trajectory of America's food from gathering to garbage bin in this compelling and finely reported study, examining why roughly half of our harvest ends up in landfills or rots in the field. He accounts for every source of food waste, from how it is picked, purchased, and tossed in fear of being past inscrutable 'best by' dates. Bloom's most interesting point is psychological: we have trained ourselves to regard food as a symbol of American plenty that should be available at all seasons and times, and in dizzying quantities. 'Current rates of waste and population growth can't coexist much longer,' he warns and makes smart suggestions on becoming individually and collectively more food conscious 'to keep our Earth and its inhabitants physically and morally healthy.' (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
The Traffic and Affluenza of food waste: an eye-opening account of our culture of excess and wasteand what we can do to change it
Grocery prices and the forsaken foods at the back of your fridge seem to increase weekly. After reading American Wasteland, you will never look at your shopping list, refrigerator, plate, or wallet the same way again. Jonathan Bloom wades into the garbage heap to unearth what our squandered food says about us, why it matters, and how you can make a difference starting in your own kitchen—reducing waste and saving money. Interviews with experts such as chef Alice Waters and food psychologist Brian Wansink, among others, uncover not only how and why we waste, but, most importantly, what we can do about it.
About the Author
Jonathan Bloom is a freelance journalist and food waste expert who writes the blog Wasted Food. An accomplished eater and fledgling composter, he has covered both serious and quirky topics related to food and the environment. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Newsweek, and Variety, among others. A Boston native, he lives in Durham, North Carolina, with his family, and many, many containers for leftovers.