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Bad Food Britain: How A Nation Ruined Its Appetite [Paperback]

Joanna Blythman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
Price: 11.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

2 July 2010

Award-winning investigative food journalist, Joanne Blythman turns her attention to the current hot topic – the state of British food.

What is it about the British and food? We just don’t get it, do we? Britain is notorious worldwide for its bad food and increasingly corpulent population but it’s a habit we just can’t seem to kick.

Welcome to the country where recipe and diet books feature constantly in top 10 bestseller lists but where the average meal takes only eight minutes to prepare and people spend more time watching celebrity chefs cooking on TV than doing any cooking themselves, the country where a dining room table is increasingly becoming an optional item of furniture. Welcome to the nation that is almost pathologically obsessed with the safety and provenance of food but which relies on factory-prepared ready meals for sustenance, eating four times more of them than any other country in Europe, the country that never has its greasy fingers out of a packet of crisps, consuming more than the rest of Europe put together. Welcome to the affluent land where children eat food that is more nutririonally impoverished than their counterparts in South African townships, the country where hospitals can sell fast-food burgers but not home-baked cake, the G8 state where even the Prime Minister refuses to eat broccoli.

Award-winning investigative food journalist Joanna Blythman takes us on an amusing, perceptive and subversive journey through Britain's contemporary food landscape and traces the roots of our contemporary food troubles in deeply engrained ideas about class, modernity and progress.

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Bad Food Britain: How A Nation Ruined Its Appetite + Shopped: The Shocking Power of British Supermarkets + Fast Food Nation: What The All-American Meal is Doing to the World
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; (Reissue) edition (2 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007219946
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007219940
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.6 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 131,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joanna Blythman is Britain's leading investigative food journalist and an influential commentator on the British food chain. She has won five Glenfiddich awards for her writing, including a Glenfiddich Special Award for her first book The Food We Eat, a Caroline Walker Media Award for Improving the Nation's Health by Means of Good Food, and a Guild of Food Writers Award for The Food We Eat. In 2004, she won the prestigious Derek Cooper Award, one of BBC Radio 4's Food and Farming Awards. In 2007, Good Housekeeping Magazine gave her its award for Outstanding Contribution to Food Award 2007. She writes and broadcasts frequently on food issues.

Product Description


'Wittily charts our wasteful, unhealthy eating habits.' Rose Prince, Telegraph

'Thought provoking and engaging.' BBC Good Food Magazine

'A gruesome portrait of national degradation…she composes this…with precision, contempt and a truthfulness that is recklessly unselfserving.' New Statesman

'A comprehensive denunciation of our food culture, from supermarkets and restaurants to TV chefs and cookery books.' Glasgow Herald

'Joanna Blythman's pleasurably splenetic tirade against the food industry.' Prospect Magazine

‘A stern warning, more effective then any government health campaign…an honest representation of a nation in crisis.’ Sunday Business Post

‘A book that anyone who cares about what they and the country eat should read, digest and act upon.' Sunday Times

BBC Good Food Magazine

'Thought provoking and engaging.'

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One sided non-rounded take on things... 15 Mar 2009
By Smith
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bad Food Britain - good title but unfortunately Joanna takes a full book to say what a decent newspaper article could do, herein is my problem.

The main premise of the book is that pre-packaged frozen food is the main staple of the British diet juxtapositioned against the european household, which seemingly is a bastion of fresh, fabulous creations for breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper, whereby hundreds of family members laugh, converse, debate and generally live life to the fullest around the dining table never eating the same meal twice in any one decade....and the lonely individuals which make up the British 2.4 family eat in front of the flickering idiot box with chemically prepared mush in front of them like zombies never taking their eyes off the magical screen (ironically watching some *superstar* chef prepare eggs bendict by first inseminating the hen live) etc... etc..

Whilst the reality may not be too far from this scenario, what Joanna has failed to do is to flesh the book out with some solid factual information about what exactly these "artificial" ingredients actually are and why they are actually harmful to us.

This information would have given some credence to her writing and some interesting insight into the food industry. She does touch on the sneaky yet very clever way that the advertisers get people to buy into the whole "fresh and wholesome" idea of their chemically produced fare but she doesn't really give anything more.

I would recommend "Fast Food Nation" or "Fat Land" over this 2D analysis of the British diet. And just for the record, I do buy fresh produce - I do cook even after a long day at work - I am an average Briton...C'est la vie.
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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reader's Digest 22 Jun 2006
I love Joanna Blythman. Her book The Food We Eat changed my life (I guess it arrived at precisely the right time for me), and I loved Shopped too. But Bad Food Britain is her angriest yet, and the indignation makes it fly. The picture she paints, from food-ignorance and incompetence being handed down from generation to generation, the ever-tightening grip of the food multinationals, the opiate lure of supermarkets, the parlous state of school and hospital food, our masochistic attitude to snacking, to the big punchline ie. the failure of government to take anything like a useful stance on this most fundamental of all public health and sociel cohesion issues, is as depressing as hell. And an essential read for anyone who believes that a nation and a culture is what it eats.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A reality check on the "foodie revolution". 21 Jun 2006
If you're thinking "Oh no, not another book telling me what to eat!" then breathe easy. Joanna Blythman's targets are not parents struggling against a flood of junk food adverts on kids TV. She doesn't try to make you feel guilty for not being part of the "foodie revolution"

This book shatters the myths built by our processed food industry, the supermarkets and the chattering classes. It takes apart the claims that we are now a nation of foodies enjoying exquisite meals and dining at world-class British restaurants. It's full of frightening facts - did you know that four times the amount is spent on feeding an army dog than is spent on the ingredients for a primary child's school meal? It shows how debased our food culture in Britain has become, who's to blame for it and how we can start to sort it out.

Read it. Get angry and do something about it.
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90 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to stomach 18 Aug 2006
Joanna Blythman is too polite; she should have called this, her latest book, "C**p Food Britain", as a lot of what we eat - from Turkey Twizzlers to deep-fried Mars bars - is not too far off this description. In an excoriating attack on our food culture, the author holds the mirror up to Britain's abusive relationship with food and it's not a pretty sight. The book contains a litany of crimes against food: the tarted-up slurry we feed our children at home and at school, the prefabricated meals masquerading as "home-cooked" in pubs and restaurants and the fear induced by food scandals born out of the overwhelming desire for cheap food.

She explodes the myth of Britain as a cosmopolitan, sophisticated, cappuccino drinking, Michelin-starred restaurant frequenting, organic goat's milk yogurt slurping and rare-breed pork sausage-gobbling foodie nation by giving us the facts on the sad, brutal reality. Here are some frightening statistics: in 2003 Britain ate more ready meals than the rest of Europe put together; Britain eats more than half of all the crisps and savoury snack in Europe; 40% of all food bought in Britain ends up in the bin; one out of three Britons do not eat vegetables because they are too much effort to prepare; by 2020 at least a third of all British adults, one fifth of British boys and on third of British girls will be obese. Of course we are out of kilter with Europe in how we deal with food. We prefer, lemming-like, to follow our cousins across the pond who are several years further down the road of mass obesity and a junk food culture so pervasive that it is actually incredibly difficult to buy and eat healthy food even if you want to.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Insightful
I enjoyed this book, however It seems a little bit all over, there's some structure to it but over all it seems a little convoluted and in some parts a little contradictory with... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Daniel C Briscoe
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great! Thank you!
Published 1 month ago by FW
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book
I am loving this book and agree totally with what Joanna says about the need to cook proper food from scratch rather than buy packets of ready meals. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. Jean D. Andrews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellant
Have not read it read it yet but flipped through it and looks like it gets the message across: eat healthly
Published 1 month ago by Michael
1.0 out of 5 stars Outdated and obsolete
I bought the book thinking that it was updated since the first edition. Unfortunately, two thirds through the book i still haven't found any reference dated after 2005, which was... Read more
Published 4 months ago by mit
5.0 out of 5 stars Bad food Britain
Great book, opened my eyes to the crap we eat, will be following advice strictly from now on and eating better
Published 11 months ago by Maz321
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
A well researched look at the terrible truth about what people eat in this country. Everyone else does it so it's ok to eat the way we do. And everything can be justified. Read more
Published 12 months ago by ANG
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, abrupt finish!
I enjoyed this book very much and have finished it only a few hours after purchasing. The writing style is engaging and passionate. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Ruth Boxall
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I really enjoyed this book. Should be read by everyone so that we can lead a better and healthier life.
Published 17 months ago by fab
1.0 out of 5 stars Not convinced
Blythmann has a rapid and witty style, but by chapter 4 the wit was worn out and I felt as though I had read the same thing over and over again: Britain's food is bad and the rest... Read more
Published 20 months ago by CSA
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