cover image The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter

The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter

Peter Singer, Jim Mason. Rodale Press, $25.95 (328pp) ISBN 978-1-57954-889-6

Ethicist Singer and co-author Mason (Animal Factories) document corporate deception, widespread waste and desensitization to inhumane practices in this consideration of ethical eating. The authors examine three families' grocery-buying habits and the motivations behind those choices. One woman says she's ""absorbed in my life and my family...and I don't think very much about the welfare of the meat I'm eating,"" while a wealthier husband and wife mull the virtues of ""triple certified"" coffee, buying local and avoiding chocolate harvested by child slave labor, though ""no one seems to be pondering that as they eat."" In investigating food production conditions, the authors' first-hand experiences alternate between horror and comedy, from slaughterhouses to artificial turkey-insemination (""the hardest, fastest, dirtiest, most disgusting, worst-paid work""). This sometimes-graphic expos is not myopic: profitability and animal welfare are given equal consideration, though the reader finishes the book agreeing with the authors' conclusion that ""America's food industry seeks to keep Americans in the dark about the ethical components of their food choices."" A no-holds-barred treatise on ethical consumption, this is an important read for those concerned with the long, frightening trip between farm and plate.