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Fresh - A Perishable History [Anglais] [Broché]

Susanne Freidberg

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Fresh We want fresh foods to keep us healthy, and to connect us to nature and community. We also want them convenient, pretty, and cheap. This title traces our paradoxical hunger to its roots in the rise of mass consumption, when freshness seemed both proof of and an antidote to progress. Full description

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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index
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Amazon.com: 4.7 étoiles sur 5  6 commentaires
12 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Cold Revolution: Essential Reading 31 août 2009
Par Susan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
For most of her life, my grandmother kept her milk, eggs, and butter in the spring house on her Missouri farm. Through the 1940s, my mother subscribed to a twice-weekly delivery of ice for her icebox, and in 1951, bought a Crosley "Shelvadore." I have a refrigerator-freezer that makes ice and dispenses cold water, and another freezer for garden vegetables and fruits. Times have changed.

In FRESH: A PERISHABLE HISTORY, Susanne Freidberg opens the refrigerator door on a fascinating aspect of our modern American food culture: how the search for "fresh" food has shaped what we buy, cook, and eat. We take the refrigerator so much for granted that it's almost impossible to imagine what eating was like before--and what it is like now for those who can't afford to participate.

But we didn't always have ice on demand and mechanical refrigeration has been around for only a century. In her first chapter, Freidberg's first chapter establishes the technical context for her discussion of the extraordinary changes that have taken place in our diets and eating habits in the last hundred years. The "cold revolution" changed the geography of fresh food, she says, making it possible for perishable foodstuffs to travel around the globe and for seasonally-available fruits, vegetables, and meat to appear on our tables year-round. Refrigeration gives us the ability to consume very old food and still happily imagine it as "fresh."

Take meat, for instance. As hunters, humans have always eaten wild meat, but Freidberg points out that eating domesticated animals has been, until recently, a "seasonal and regional luxury." Most people ate plant-based diets with the occasional addition of locally grown and processed meat. But after refrigerated railcars (chilled first with ice, then mechanically) made it possible to deliver meat from the meat-packing center of Chicago to consumers on the East Coast, "fresh" beef became less of a luxury and more of a perceived necessity. "Mobile meat," dependent on cross-country and global transport, convinced consumers "not only that fresh beef could come from far away, but also that their main relationship to meat--and indeed, to all once-living foods--was as consumers." This helped to create the disconnect that now plagues us, "between cities and their pastured hinterlands, between shoppers and their neighborhood butchers, and between people who bought the meat and those who dressed it in faraway slaughterhouses."

But refrigeration didn't affect just meat, and it has created other hidden effects that we don't often think about.

* The "cold chain" allows us to have fresh eggs throughout the year and permits egg producers to create larger and larger egg-producing factories with detrimental impacts both on the local environment and on local small-farm competitors.

* Refrigeration (enhanced by huge industry-funded marketing efforts) encourages us to desire beautiful if bland and tasteless out-of-season fruit. Advertising has taught us that "beauty is a mark of freshness," a beauty that is rarely more than skin deep.

* Refrigeration enables us to enjoy fresh vegetables without going to the work of growing them ourselves, and disguises the "hidden dependence" of growers on cheap, often undocumented migrant labor. The value we place fresh vegetables, Freidberg says, has "contributed to the historic undervaluing of the human labor that produces them."

FRESH makes one thing abundantly clear. Our contemporary American food culture is totally dependent on refrigeration. Without it, we would have no meat, eggs, milk, vegetables, fruit, or fish, except what we could grow ourselves or purchase locally, for immediate consumption. As Freidberg points out, refrigeration enables us to enjoy a richly varied and much safer diet. But because of it, we have become a culture of consumers dangerously removed from the work of managing our food and suffering from the ills created by overconsumption of meat, the injustice of cheap labor, and the depletion of natural resources. The "Cold Revolution" has created a comfortable world that may be too costly to sustain.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Roving Locavore on Fresh 3 août 2009
Par Amy Campion - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Many books can be found on the current state of our food, our attitudes toward food, our local food movement, the problems with our cheap, industrial food systems. This book is unique for its historical vantage point. And it tells a fascinating story. Two aspects of this book make it the amazing read that it is: the incredible density of information and Freidberg's clear, graceful prose. While the book is built on an impressive foundation of research, it is the prose style that keeps this information engaging from page to page. Freidberg's knack for narrative also gives the book an economy that is impressive for the amount of interconnected subjects she deals with. Each chapter (on refrigeration, beef, eggs, fruit, vegetables, milk, and fish) tells the history of a food industry we now consider central to civilization, and answers with wide-ranging knowledge and conscience the question: how did we get here (to the world in which beef seems as plentiful as water and "baby" carrots look most natural in their see-through bags, and to the world in which our industrialized food systems are proving to be unsustainable)? Freidberg considers with equal care the roles of refrigeration and of labor inequality; the roles of marketing and of women in the workforce; the roles of technological innovation and of food fads, in her telling of this history of freshness and its consequences. As I try to list all of the subjects this concise history covers, I'm amazed by the complexity of the story it tells with so much seeming ease. If you're interested in food, and in history, you'll find this a page-turner.

As a food-focused writer and participant in our current local food movement myself, I find the historical perspective of this book especially valuable. Just as it is important to look back, and ask how we got to where we are, it is important to see our own "movement" in the context of a constant history of food "movements" which in their moment seemed both wonderful and dubious. Part of the current interest in eating locally has to do with freshness as a quality that claims a kind of moral superiority over everything else (though there's also new interest in the old forms of food preservation such as canning and pickling). Freidberg's book invites us to recognize that our fascination with freshness is not a simple return to nature but is a new phase in a long history made possible by culture, technology, marketing, business, and labor.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Good Mix of Scholarship and Readability 16 août 2012
Par Gary M. Olson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
This is in many ways a serious analysis of the history of dealing with a sample of perishable foods. It's seriousness is reflected in 59 pages of notes and a 38-page bibliography, both remarkable for a book whose primary text is 283 pages (at least in the hardback version). But it is written in an easy-to-read, one could even say "fresh" style, making it a pleasure to read. The narrative is filled with great stories, interesting personalities, and clear accounts of the technical aspects of preservation. As has been noted in other reviews, it is primarily a story of the impact of refrigeration on our access to foods at risk of spoiling. The six examples used to tell the story -- beef, eggs, fruit, vegetables, milk, and fish -- are common to the diets of many of us, giving the story a lot of direct relevance. The tension between local and global is another major theme, and reminds us of how difficult it is to be a locavore. All-in-all, a splendid volume.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 This book is well-written and provides a lot of interesting ... 2 septembre 2014
Par J. Berning - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
This book is well-written and provides a lot of interesting references/information. Rather than being an agenda driven condemnation of the US food system, it provides and interesting detail of how our food system has evolved over time.
Definitely a worthwhile read.
5 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 warning: kindle edition has no images 25 décembre 2011
Par annoyed with kindle - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
text is excellent. i bought the kindle edition and it is missing all the images. for each image, it actually says to refer to the print edition!! how incredibly lame is that?
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