‘A masterful polemic … the writing is incisive, often hyperbolic, sometimes very close to the bone and always highly entertaining … Whether you agree or not, it’s a great, timely and thought-provoking read.’Graeme Phillips, The Sunday Tasmanian
Provocative, erudite, and hilarious — the first full-length broadside at food fetishism to be published in Australia
We have become obsessed by food — where it comes from, where to buy it, how to cook it, and, most absurdly of all, how to eat it. Our television screens and newspapers are filled with celebrity chefs, whose authority and ambition range from the small scale (what we should have for supper) to large-scale public schemes designed to improve our communal eating habits.
When did the basic human imperative to feed ourselves mutate into such a multitude of anxieties about provenance, ethics, health, lifestyle, and class status? Since when did the likes of Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson gain the power to transform our kitchens and dining tables into places where we expect to be spiritually sustained? And why do we take seriously the often mindless prattle of food writers and purveyors?
In this masterful polemic, Steven Poole argues that we’re trying to fill more than just our bellies when we pick up our knives and forks, and that we might be a lot happier if we realised that sometimes we should throw away the colour supplements and open a tin of beans.
‘This is spirited and entertaining prose, but it’s no mere adornment to a maladroit thesis. Poole is spot on, in my view, when he observes how food culture has colonised many other areas of modern life.’Luke Slattery, The Australian
‘Entertaining and humorous … [Poole’s] depiction of a food rave where he considers ‘bringing glow-sticks’ and ‘waving giant chicken drumsticks in place of the habitual maracas’ had me laughing out loud. If you’re a foodie, foodist, gastronome or budding food blogger who can take a little ribbing, You Aren’t What You Eat: fed up with Gastroculture is well worth a look.’Arabella Forge, The Melbourne Review
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‘Poole holds our fetishes up to the harsh light and we laugh and cringe as he tells us how our high-mindedness about food can be just plain absurd. A great read, even though we must now think of our 'pseudo erotic paens’ in our spiritually unfulfilling lives differently now. Once we finish laughing.'MARGARET LINLEY, Geelong Advertiser