Probably like most of you, I thought Michael Moss’s Salt, Sugar, Fat would be about how these ingredients are not good for us, how to eliminate them from our diets, and perhaps a few recipes to get us started. I was wrong. This book is far more fascinating than that. It’s a well written, in depth look at the food industry, and how the products we all know came into being and developed over the years. It names companies like Kellogg’s, Kraft, Campbell’s and the soft drink giants that produce Coke, Pepsi, and even Dr Pepper, as well as other.
Did you know that the amount of sugar and cheese that we each eat today has tripled since 1970? No wonder there is an obesity epidemic today. I was very interested in the story of how the US Government was responsible for the increase in cheese production, how the excess was stored, and how it finally made it’s way into a lot of everyday foods as time went by.
I think this is an important piece of literature that will withstand the test of time, and will likely be a great reference book about the food industry for many years to come. It’s a thick book (over 400 pages) but not difficult reading. I think everyone should read it.
There are stories about the science behind product development, and how advertising and product placement get our attention, and get us to buy more. One thing became very clear, and that is that processed foods could not exist without salt, sugar or fat. Even some of the people who used to work for these companies now know that in order to avoid these substances, they also have to avoid the very foods those companies produce. While I do a lot of my own baking, and seldom buy convenience foods, I’m starting to think the cans and boxes that are currently in my house may be greatly reduced in the future. I will likely make more of my own soups and salad dressings and maybe even bread in the future.