Real Food Fake Food: Why You Don't Know What You're Eating and What You Can Do About It

Larry Olmsted. Algonquin, $27.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-61620-421-1
Olmsted, who writes the "Great American Bites" column for USA Today, boldly walks readers through a course in food authenticity that covers olive oil, cheese, Champagne, seafood, steak, coffee, and more. Readers will be inspired by his intensity and clarity, and floored by how far some counterfeiters go to fool consumers and some historic food institutions go to protect their products and their names. Olmsted's research is impressive, and he lets no stone go unturned. He lets the terrifying facts speak for themselves, adding just a little humor. The method for creating Parmigiano-Reggiano is a time-honored tradition used for hundreds of years; Olmsted warns that "because counterfeiting the King of Cheeses has become a global pastime, [the process] will be augmented with security holograms." But security measures haven't stopped stores and restaurants from making false claims on the food they serve. In one study of lobster dishes from independent eateries and big chains, "more than a third of the dishes did not contain lobster"at all. One eatery sold lobster ravioli that did not even have any seafood in it at all, just cheese. Olmsted's sharp language will hopefully put fires under counterfeiters everywhere, and he alerts shoppers to use a keener eye and a more questioning mind when choosing a restaurant or grocery aisle. With the guiding hand of a good friend and prose that keeps the reader's eye moving, Olmsted insists that readers "shop better and cook more." (June)
Reviewed on: 06/20/2016
Release date: 07/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-61620-652-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-68168-194-8
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-61620-741-0
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