The author does try to add a bit of wit & humor to make the story more interesting but unlike other authors, her efforts fall flat. Best Before is more akin to reading a text book in class with a somewhat dorky teacher who occasionally tries to make a joke in order to keep the class awake.
It was also confusing as the reader to not fully understand where the author stood regarding food processing. It seemed that the author didn't know either. The author states she is simply providing information so that we can make more informed decisions. This is all well & good, but at times it seems she is either leaning towards processing & yet at other times against it. This created an odd vibe with the book. As the reader it was hard to stand with or against the author. When reading a book of this nature, normally if it is something I feel passionately about & it seems the author & I are in agreement, I feel like I have gained a new ally. Naturally if the topic is something I feel negatively about & the author feels positively, I feel the author is against what I feel is just & right, so most certainly not an ally. So while reading this I may nod my head, but then back up & shake muttering something like, "Wait, what?" It interrupts the flow.
One such example is nano-particles. The author tries to provide an unbiased opinion, discussing what she feels are the pros & cons of nano technology in food & then clearly states that this is something she is excited about; the potential benefits in food if it is used properly. My problem with this is many. One being how it is already proven that nano particles are wrecking havoc in the environment. She even states that scientists don't yet know what happens in our gut, our amazing microbiome when nano particles are introduced into our bodies. Sometimes it's best not to tinker too much with nature. Seeing how lax labeling laws are, the last thing I want to find out is that I'm unknowingly consuming lab created nano sized whatevers in my food.
She also merrily skips over irradiation & seems fine with it as well because it helps keep the consumer safe from potentially deadly pathogens. Good practices make irradiation unnecessary. Irradiation means manufactures can cut corners & speed up production because they don't have to worry about contamination. Feces in the meat? No worries, irradiation is here! The food manufacturing industry's over-use of irradiation is nearly in line with the over use of antibiotics in livestock production. Why let animals live outdoors in a more costly & slower environment when antibiotics can do double duty, increasing the size of the animal faster while allowing you to cram them into filthy inhumane conditions that they would never survive without antibiotics?
What about plastics? She discusses how our foods can have a plastic film on them, without our knowledge. This film gets eaten by us. It's main purpose is to keep the food fresh. Sorry, but isn't eating plastic something we want to avoid?
As a eco farmer, I find it hard to understand how someone with a homesteading background of wholesome farm grown foods, is so at ease with what is going on in the food industry. To be fair she doesn't speak positively of all the various processing methods that manufactures use, but she isn't exactly coming across as against them either. I am not even sure where she stands regarding genetically modified foods.
Some of the stories in this book start out interesting, such as the history of the baby carrot, but even that gets bogged down with too many details for the average reader, once again creating a snooze fest. In other areas of the book, she makes timeline claims but then later says scientists don't agree, but she's picking said timeline because it helps the flow of the book. Folks, this is supposed to be non-fiction. There are many other books available that are much more engaging regarding the food industry such as Salt Sugar Fat, Real Food/Fake Food, & Nourishing Traditions to get you started.
This is not necessarily a bad book, the potential is there & it contains educational information (albeit sometimes questionable), but why get it here when you can get it from so many other much more enjoyable books?
Links to the books we've read & reviewed for your convenience!
- The Sh!t No One Tells You About Pregnancy: A Guide to Surviving Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Beyond
- The Complete Guide To Adaptogens From Ashwagandaha to Rhodiola, Medicinal Herbs That Transform and Heal
- Beginning Beekeeping
- Before The Evolution and Future of Processed Food
- The Psychobiotic Revolution
- Simple & Natural Soapmaking: Create 100% Pure and Beautiful Soaps with The Nerdy Farm Wife’s Easy Recipes and Techniques
- The Flower Book
- The Essential Oils Complete Reference Guide: Over 250 Recipes for Natural Wholesome Aromatherapy
- The Gut Makeover: 4 Weeks to Nourish Your Gut, Revolutionize Your Health, and Lose Weight
- The Field Guide To Pregnancy
- 101 Easy Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health & Home: A Nerdy Farm Wife's All-Natural DIY Projects Using Commonly Found Herbs, Flowers & Other Plants
- The Chicken Health Handbook
- Chickens In Your Backyard: A Beginners Guide
- The Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health: More Than 200 New Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes for Delicious and Nutrient-Rich Dishes
- The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and Other Sweet Preserves: 200 Classic and Contemporary Recipes Showcasing the Fabulous Flavors of Fresh Fruits
- The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America's Emerging Battle over Food Rights
- The Joy of Pickling: 250 Flavor-Packed Recipes for Vegetables and More from Garden or Market
- Style, Naturally: The Savvy Shopping Guide to Sustainable Fashion and Beauty
- The Gort Cloud: The Invisible Force Powering Today's Most Visible Green Brands
- Feed Your Skin, Starve Your Wrinkles
- Sleeping Naked Is Green
- Naturally Thin: Unleash Your SkinnyGirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting
- Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything
- Beef: The Untold Story of How Milk, Meat, and Muscle Shaped the World
- Fortify Your Life: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and More
- Healing Herbs: A Beginner's Guide To Identifying, Foraging, and Using Medicinal Plants
- The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook
- The Virgin Diet Cookbook: 150 Easy and Delicious Recipes to Lose Weight and Feel Better Fast
- Flip Dolls & Other Toys That Zip, Stack, Hide, Grab & Go
- Healthy at Home: Get Well and Stay Well Without Prescriptions
- Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth
- Integrative Wellness Rules: A Simple Guide to Healthy Living
- Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us
- How Stella Saved the Farm: A Tale About Making Innovation Happen
- The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Foods, Lose 7 Pounds, Just 7 Days
- The Easy Organizer: 365 Tips for Conquering Clutter
- The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food
- Probiotics For Dummies
- Beyond Sugar Shock: The 6-Week Plan to Break Free of Your Sugar Addiction & Get Slimmer, Sexier & Sweeter
- Small Business For Dummies
- Starting An Etsy Business For Dummies
- Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred: Seriously Geeky Stuff to Make with Your Kids
- The Beauty Detox Solution: Eat Your Way to Radiant Skin, Renewed Energy and the Body You've Always Wanted
- A Woman's Guide to a Healthy Stomach: Taking Control of Your Digestive Health
- Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind
- Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It
- Terra Madre: Forging a New Global Network of Sustainable Food Communities
- The Hundred Year Diet: America's Voracious Appetite For Losing Weight
- Twelve by Twelve: A One-Room Cabin Off the Grid and Beyond the American Dream
- Felties: How to Make 18 Cute and Fuzzy Friends from Felt
- Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own
- Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders: 101 Small Indulgences