Our household is very careful about the food we buy, which is why I was quite interested in this book by Mr. Olmstead. I was fortunate to hear the interview of him on the Diane Rehm show as well. However, I found this book to be rather frustrating, though it does contain a wealth of interesting and, at times, compelling information. We tend to buy organic whenever possible, and constantly struggle with the budget challenges that presents. So I was hopeful this book would not only provide a sort of guide map for selecting high quality foods, but would also either reassure me that the organic brand is worth while, or dissuade me from spending the extra cash on organic labeled products.
Regarding the organic brand, it is never directly addressed. There are many comments that cast significant doubt on the organic label, and others that suggest you look for the label. Certainly, it depends on the food under consideration. In some cases, such as seafood, there is no organic standard. However, in others Mr. Olmstead presents the picture of a defined standard that is not enforced. I'm left pretty much where I started - choose organic when possible, even if it isn't 100% accurate. Further, it always pays to have some idea of the 'provenance' of the product - country of origin, farm, etc... even if that can be faked.
I was also a little surprised to see two entire chapters devoted to meat, an entire chapter on Champagne and Scotch, an entire chapter on wines. As a book on 'food', it is really a book about seafood, olive oils, kobe beef, wine and spirits, and cheese. Not much else. I think this book speaks more to the food preferences of Mr. Olmstead than a more comprehensive treatment of the thousands of food products you'll find in a typical grocery store. What he left out could fill volumes. His often long ramblings about regional culture, specific farms and villages, his travels and his food experiences tended to obscure what I was looking for based on the title of the book. A better title might have been: "Larry's World of Food" or something like that.
Bottom line - excellent information, but for a limited set of foods and beverages.
- Audio CD
- Publisher: Highbridge Co; Unabridged edition (19 July 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1681681943
- ISBN-13: 978-1681681948
- Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.8 x 13.5 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 249 g
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