Twinkie, Deconstructed

Twinkie, Deconstructed: My Journey to Discover How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods Are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated into What America Eats by Steve Ettlinger (published by Plume) is definitely not for everyone. You have to be a serious foodie to like it.  The actual ingredients used to make even the simplest food – like a loaf of bread – are usually so processed, mined (yes MINED), manufactured, whatever –  that it’s a real surprise to me we all survive. Most of them don’t even sound edible. Read it and you will be shocked at what goes into the food we eat. Ettlinger decided one day while sitting at the beach reading an ice cream label (which by the way he said was “totally incomprehensible and most terms only barely pronouncable”) to analyze all the ingredients in a Twinkie, that archetype of all processed foods that has become part of pop culture.  Things like polysorbate 60, mono and diglycerides, sodium stearoyl lactylate, high fructose corn syrup and even plain baking soda are all explained in ordinary language that includes where they come from, how they are manufactured, and why they are all used in the manufacturing of our food. If you don’t eat Twinkies, not to worry – just take a look at the list of ingredients on a box of anything in your kitchen cupboard and I bet one of them will be discussed in this quirky book. I found it fascinating… but I would, wouldn’t I.

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