Author examines food counterfeiting. Buyer beware.
I hadn’t even gotten around to posting news of Larry Olmstead’s new book, Real Food, Fake Food before it hit the prestigious New York Times bestseller list. I’ve known Larry as an outdoor and travel writer, but he is also a foodie who has immersed himself in the food product scene. The book asks (and answers) the very big question: “What are you really eating?”
“The world is full of delicious, lovingly crafted foods that embody the terrain, weather, and culture of their origins. Unfortunately, it’s also full of brazen impostors that are hard to identify. In this entertaining and important book, Larry Olmsted helps us fall in love with the real stuff and steer clear of the fraudsters. I’ll never look at a menu the same way again,” Kirk Kardashian (no, not one of those Kardashians), author of Milk Money: Cash, Cows and the Death of the American Dairy Farm, wrote in praise of Larry’s book.It takes on such distressing products as Parmesan “cheese” made from sawdust, lobster rolls containing no lobster at all, extra-virgin olive oil that isn’t and other fake foods in our supermarkets, our restaurants, and our kitchen cabinets in short, food fraud perpetrated on unsuspecting Americans.
Real Food, Fake Food brings readers into the unregulated (or very loosely regulated) food industry, revealing the appalling deception that extends from high-end foods like olive oil, wine and Kobe beef to everyday staples such as coffee, honey, juice and cheese. Think Velveeta. With another election coming up and funds pouring from the deep pockets of the food industry into candidates’ coffers, I fear the continuation of this bait-and-switch culture with rampant food counterfeiting and consumers like thee and me ultimately paying the price.
Restaurants and retailers are equally suspect, according to Larry’s findings. He does more than show us what foods to avoid. He traveled to the sources of the real stuff to help us recognize what to look for, eat and savor, such as genuine Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy, fresh-caught grouper from Florida and authentic port from Portugal. Real foods that are grown, raised, produced and prepared with care by masters of their craft. Part cautionary tale, part culinary crusade, Real Food, Fake Food has been described as “addictively readable, mouthwateringly enjoyable, and utterly relevant.” Larry makes a case as to why real food matters. I don’t need convincing, but I’ve surely been duped, despite my good intentions and compulsive label reading.