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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The Chain Exposes the Fate of our Food

I've been carrying around Ted Genoways' The Chain: Farm, Factory and the Fate of Our Food in my purse for quite awhile now, reading it just a a little at a time. It is quite a lot to process.

I mentioned in August that I had started reading The Chain. Back then, I shared I had learned that I never ever wanted to try Spam, and we feeling really great about becoming pescatarian. I also said that although I've always felt pretty educated on the food world, I loved learning more.

Which is all still totally true.

In a Q&A with Genoways, the author explains the title of his book:
In meatpacking plants, the speed of processing is set by a chain conveyor system. The chain determines everything about how a day in the plant goes. During times of high demand, the company will try to push the speed of the chain to get more output. When it gets to running too fast, injuries occur and food can be processed improperly. Workers often talk about the chain as if it were a living thing, something to be feared. This book is really an examination of what happens when the chain is allowed to run unbridled. 
Probably the best summary I've found of what I read.

What Genoways does so well in The Chain is he makes it about people, not about pigs. Although he seems to tell a lot of similar stories, each story still held my attention and had me flipping through pages. More importantly, it made me want to talk about what I read. In my opinion, that's what makes a non-fiction book a success. If I want to share what I've read and have discussions that could possibly teach a friend or peer something new, that's wonderful.

Basically, The Chain, is really great journalism.

Also, the cover is so nice. So nice and simple.

Forward, but not being grotesque. And of course, can anyone really go wrong with red, white and black? I hope they keep this as the official cover and not just the proof! That's always a disappointment.

The Chain is out on October 14 (so soon!) but you can pre-order it on the Harper Collins site. If you want a little sample of Genoways' writing, you can read his related articles.


more wonderful food writing

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my Tigers lost today, and I'm feeling homesick


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