Devoured: From Chicken Wings to Kale Smoothies--How What We Eat Defines Who We Are

Devoured From Chicken Wings to Kale Smoothies How What We Eat Defines Who We Are A provocative look at how and what Americans eat and why a flavorful blend of The Omnivore s Dilemma Salt Sugar Fat and Freakonomics that reveals how the way we live shapes the way we eatFood writer

  • Title: Devoured: From Chicken Wings to Kale Smoothies--How What We Eat Defines Who We Are
  • Author: Sophie Egan
  • ISBN: 9780062390981
  • Page: 180
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A provocative look at how and what Americans eat and why a flavorful blend of The Omnivore s Dilemma, Salt Sugar Fat, and Freakonomics that reveals how the way we live shapes the way we eatFood writer and Culinary Institute of America director Sophie Egan takes readers on an eye opening journey through the American food psyche, examining the connections between the valuesA provocative look at how and what Americans eat and why a flavorful blend of The Omnivore s Dilemma, Salt Sugar Fat, and Freakonomics that reveals how the way we live shapes the way we eatFood writer and Culinary Institute of America director Sophie Egan takes readers on an eye opening journey through the American food psyche, examining the connections between the values that define our national character work, freedom, and progress and our eating habits, the good and the bad Egan explores why these values make for such an unstable, and often unhealthy, food culture and, paradoxically, why they also make America s cuisine so great.Egan raises a host of intriguing questions Why does McDonald s have 107 items on its menu Why are breakfast sandwiches, protein bars, and gluten free anything so popular Will bland, soul less meal replacements like Soylent revolutionize our definition of a meal The search for answers takes her across the culinary landscape, from the prioritization of convenience over health to the unintended consequences of perks like free meals for employees the American obsession with having it our way to the surge of Starbucks, Chipotle, and other chains individualizing the eating experience from high culture artisan and organic and what exactly natural means to low culture the sale of 100 million Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tacos in ten weeks She also looks at how America s cuisine like the nation itself has been shaped by diverse influences from across the globe.Forked weaves together insights from the fields of psychology, anthropology, food science, and behavior economics as well as myriad examples from daily life to create a powerful and unique look at food in America.

    One thought on “Devoured: From Chicken Wings to Kale Smoothies--How What We Eat Defines Who We Are”

    1. (3.5 stars) I don't like the subtitle ('How What We Eat Defines Who We Are') nor do I think it's entirely fitting or descriptive of what the book is actually about. In short, Egan's book is very much like a Mary Roach book, focusing on American food culture. I had the thought while reading that if Michael Pollan and Mary Roach were smashed together into a book baby, you'd get Devoured. It's definitely an enjoyable read for anyone interested in American food culture.

    2. Covers a lot of the same ground as Pandora's Lunchbox, Salt Sugar Fat, The Dorito Effect, but if you enjoy those books, as I have, you'll like this one too. Sophie Egan has a conversational style and seems ready to try anything. A few of the topics in Devoured that I don't recall seeing in the other books of this type are "stunt foods" such as KFC's Double Down, and products that promote what they DON'T contain, such as gluten-free.

    3. When I think about food, it's usually in the context of "what am I going to make for dinner" or gnashing my teeth in irritation about coworkers evangelizing about their latest fad diets. Food is a huge part of our culture and our identity, (a fact that I was made well aware of when creating a faerie world in which people don't eat.) But what is American food culture? Egan takes a stab at discussing it in this book.Egan begins talking about a hypothetical American office worker's typical eating d [...]

    4. Fascinating! It's no secret I find the subject of food interesting but this comprehensive exploration of American food culture exceeded my expectations. To use a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad pun - I devoured it! Author Sophie Egan discusses in depth how and why we eat the way we do here in the twenty-first century United States of America. From the sad desk lunch to family dinners to our reliance on convenience foods our habits are NOT in line with those of our ancestors. She also tackl [...]

    5. This was a very interesting look at the American food culture. I found much of it fascinating. I am not an American, but I believe that Canadian food tastes most likely follow behind what is trending in American cuisine. There are some really interesting historical information of how different economic times, and the influence of immigrants on cuisine. One of the more disturbing facts in the book is that the average American spends more money on food in restaurants than they do in a grocery stor [...]

    6. Sophie Egan's Devoured: How What We Eat Defines Who We Are probes the mores of American food culture to find out what unites and divides us. Egan argues that food mirrors the American mindset, reflecting our common habits, tendencies, and livelihoods. There are several themes she seems to develop throughout the book, including the impact of the overbearing work culture on our food choices, how individualism and the need for self-expression colors our eating choices, and how social functions like [...]

    7. There are several things I would like to say about this book I won on :- First, the subtitle “How what we eat defines who we are” is misleading. A better one would be “How who we are defines how we eat” (or something like that). Indeed, Sophie Egan explains mainly why we (“Americans”) eat how we eat. - Second, this book would be more directed to people liking trivia. A lot of information, the organization is not always clear. The tone is very informal… - Third, something the author [...]

    8. There's some promise here. And an interesting topic. But ultimately I found myself drowning in facts. Lots of little bits of facts. (Number of items for sale in a grocery store, say.) Many of the facts are interesting, but after a while it's too much like reading an almanac. And while she makes good and interesting points, they too are overwhelmed by all the tiny little facts. I can imagine that having gathered them all, one wants to use them. and many of them are the kind of thing you want to i [...]

    9. I'm VERY excited to be receiving this through the First Reads program! Looks interesting. Whatever Miss T eats turns into Miss T. Lately that must mean I'm a cookie.

    10. Great piece divulging the depths of American food culture. Sophie provides insight into the behavioural economics and advertising schemes that go into our daily food products, and ties it to Americans cultural values as a whole. For example, snacking arises from the constant need to be efficient and working all day. She says, "what's driving this constant munching is a combination of being efficiency oriented - I suppose we can use our hands to feed our mouths while we use our eyes to look at sh [...]

    11. I read half of this and listened to half of it. It's easy to read, lots of fun facts scattered throughout. The author seems to have done her research. The author is snarky ("Oh, and I don't eat airline food. Talk about fifty shades of gross." (p. 188)) and somewhat elitist (although she claims she is not). The narrator's tone became quite annoying over time, but I'm not sure if that is her fault or the author's. I think the book would have been better if the author had kept more of herself out o [...]

    12. Really interesting read, however a little tough when you are PMSing and on a diet! However, it was a good eye opener on how we think about food and why we make the choices that we do. There were times were what she was talking about, I really had no interest in but other things pulled me in. Good Read!

    13. This book is a bit like a "Marketplace" for food. Which is a compliment. There isn't really a lot new here -- much of it I'd picked up in bits and pieces over the years from reading media online -- but Egan's voice is so engaging and funny that it's pleasant to go over it again, within a more structured framework.The standout chapter is definitely on how "Italian" cuisine shaped American food, and in a larger way how all non-Anglo-Germanic food has had an impact. That leads into her passionate l [...]

    14. Meh. I started out thinking that I really liked the author's writing style - it was lightly humorous and definitely written by a millenial for a millenial. However, I found it not very insightful or additive to my knowledge. Perhaps the only new bits of information I gleaned was how America became a wine drinking country (because it was cheap) and Egan's analysis that the nature of work/labor had drastically changed the way we eat. I see the latter as a labor problem, and as she quickly notes in [...]

    15. In Devoured the author poses some interesting questions about food culture and consumption in the U.S I liked that the book makes us think about our food in different ways. I wish that the it didn't seem so intense. I get the authors point, which is eat more whole foods, real meals and spend time cooking it. I do that for the most part and still felt that it wasn't enough. The overall tone of the book is judgmental which won't really get anyone to change their eating habits if they're feeling ju [...]

    16. If you enjoy other books about American food culture, like those by Michael Pollan, you would probably enjoy Devoured. It skews more sociological, though, and is funnier. I was particularly arrested by her assertion that we need to work less and reclaim our ability to relish our food and, by extension, our lives.

    17. So much good information and written in an enjoyable manner. Unfortunately, it's way too much for one book and not nearly organized enough. I have ADHD and could appreciate the author digressing here and there, but I imagine other, more focused readers won't feel the same. Taken best in small bites.Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an advanced reader copy!

    18. I basically do not know how her editor let certain language pass, rather it should be titled "Food Diaries of a High School Blogger". Don't get my wrong she is clearly well read/versed in the subject matter, and I learned something from it, but language is everything, and it just felt odd.

    19. The writing was so horrible that I couldn't make it more than 20 pages into the book. Everything was a hipster, conversational type comment and there was no coherency to the narrative. I had high hopes for the book but it wasn't worth the time.

    20. In Devoured Sophie Egan explores the deeper meaning behind what we choose to eat and why. What does is say about our country that only 26% of Americans eat breakfast everyday and 40% eat lunch at their desk so they can keep working? Egan explores not only how we eat, but some of the crazy things we eat like cereal that has more sugar than candy bars and things like the Doritos Locos Taco from Taco Bell. Egan explores 10 phenomena that illustrate what our food says about who we are as a culture. [...]

    21. 2.5 stars. Library book.The topic of food and the impact of corporate domination of it in our society is a long standing interest to me. This book had some interesting stuff but way to much detail about certain aspects. An example. I think the whole stunt food marketing scheme is interesting and revealing of how hooked many people are on 1.) fast food 2.) sensationalism 3.) being "in" but I really didn't need a recount of every meeting and step of the creation of the Dorito Taco litany. Likewise [...]

    22. (3.5 stars) An interesting book full of facts and stories about food culture in the United States. I read the first few pages at the book store and was drawn in by the casual writing style so I decided to bring the book home, the first couple of chapters were a little slow for me but after that, I found myself enjoying the book and the content. I particularly enjoyed Chapter 5 on the history and culture of brunch and Chapter 8 on "stunt foods."I read in another review a critique that a more fitt [...]

    23. 4.5 stars. While we were living in the Philippines, an American friend there offhandedly asked, about the food, 'where are the good parts? The chicken breasts? The good parts of the pork? They just eat the bony/fatty/weird parts!' And my (completely brilliant) husband said something to the effect of 'It's what they were used to as a conquered people. They had no choice but to just get by on the leftovers of the Spanish for a long time and that doesn't just change overnight." It was honestly the [...]

    24. Thank you to for a free copy of this book! I thoroughly enjoyed it for both the less formal writing style and the great wealth of interesting and informative information. As a relative newcomer to the world of nutrition science I appreciated the endless references and the pulling together of facts and figures into a single book. I have already used many of them! I found this book to be full of interesting data that provided insights into patterns many of us may or may not notice. The informatio [...]

    25. This is a really fun read. The author takes you through a range of aspects of American food culture, many of which you probably haven't thought about before. Like, why are we so obsessed with gross food like the Doritos Loco Taco at Taco Bell? Especially when sales of foods marketed as healthy are also so high? Why do we spend the work week shoving food in our faces as quickly as possible, only to wait hours to eat at the best brunch spot on the weekend? She is happy to dive into the contradicti [...]

    26. It's a good book but if you like lots of information thrown at you from every side! It sometimes felt like everything and the kitchen sink were being winged at you, a sort of larger than life aspect the author uses to depict the American food landscape but that she also felt she had to bring to the book as a dimension, except this ends up being overwhelming and hard to follow at times. Also, I think non-Americans (like me) might have problems following the nitty gritty of the food landscape bec [...]

    27. This book provides great insight into how we eat in america, and how we came to eat that way. I will say it often feels like the author is passing judgement on the way we eat, mocking a particular health food trend or fast food joint, but they also try to point out occasionally that they don't say any of this is good or bad, but that we as Americans should acknowledge *what* we eat and *why* we eat. It doesn't have to be good or bad, but it should be something we're conscious of. My favorite par [...]

    28. I want to be this author - she is everything that sounds delicious and creative and graceful and talented, and she lives in the next district over from me in San Francisco so it feels almost attainable, as if proximity is all it takes! Maybe it's that her writing is so approachable that it's easy to follow and to live through her to be educated on these ideas so easily.I loved this book because I loved the author and her story. She lives in San Francisco and I want to be her: researching food th [...]

    29. Initial thoughts: Great overview on of food and nutrition among American households. References other pop science books on food, such as An Omnivore's Dilemma, more than actual studies, though. I think as a conversational book, it's well thought out, clear and covers quite a lot of ground. Doesn't push too hard for a particular agenda, besides everything in moderation. For the most part, it challenges readers to make their own dietary decisions based in the current state of the food industry.

    30. I was surprised when I saw the mid-3 star reviews of this book. I've definitely read worse ones on the topic of food. Very accessible and readable, Devoured drops cultural observations and food facts with regularity. Though I might disagree with some of the author's stances on food culture (I HATE chaffing, and the over customization of food in restaurants. Chill out with your 80-syllable Starbucks order and just get a damn coffee.), I just took everything else in. An easy summer read.

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