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Squeezed: What You Don’t Know About Orange Juice: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice (Yale Agrarian Studies Series)

Squeezed: What You Don’t Know About Orange Juice: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice (Yale Agrarian Studies Series) [Kindle Edition]

Alissa Hamilton
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description


"...offer(s) an incisive look into the background and diverse production...must-read(s) for modern day foodies." -- Lucy Tobin, Sunday Express, 21st June 2009

Product Description

Close to three quarters of U.S. households buy orange juice. Its popularity crosses class, cultural, racial, and regional divides. Why do so many of us drink orange juice? How did it turn from a luxury into a staple in just a few years? More important, how is it that we don’t know the real reasons behind OJ’s popularity or understand the processes by which the juice is produced?

In this enlightening book, Alissa Hamilton explores the hidden history of orange juice. She looks at the early forces that propelled orange juice to prominence, including a surplus of oranges that plagued Florida during most of the twentieth century and the army’s need to provide vitamin C to troops overseas during World War II. She tells the stories of the FDA’s decision in the early 1960s to standardize orange juice, and the juice equivalent of the cola wars that followed between Coca-Cola (which owns Minute Maid) and Pepsi (which owns Tropicana). Of particular interest to OJ drinkers will be the revelation that most orange juice comes from Brazil, not Florida, and that even “not from concentrate” orange juice is heated, stripped of flavor, stored for up to a year, and then reflavored before it is packaged and sold. The book concludes with a thought-provoking discussion of why consumers have the right to know how their food is produced.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 732 KB
  • Print Length: 284 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0300124716
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (26 May 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006X09SOU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #607,651 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Squeezed 3 Jan 2011
By Tom
It's not that Squeezed is a boring book. It is not. I've never learnt so much about orange juice in my life. Drunk in such great quantities, it is impressive that we live in such ignorance as to how it arrives at our glass. The author writes well & gives a clear summary of the orange industry's 20th C history. And some bits are fascinating.

The problem is this. There is a ever growing 'genre' of point books - 'Cod', '[The color] Red', to name two of a few - and Squeezed sits on the same shelf. Their detailed investigations are impressive, but narrow. One wonders whether this book has tried to Squeeze (ho ho) too much of a story out of the relatively plain orange. To brutally sum up the book - it turns out a lot of orange we drink is diluted muck, the FDA have a load of regulations, and the industry / growers lobby hard.

This said. I think the fact that we consume so much of this processed 'orange' juice is telling; it's not just that we are ignorant. We know where orange juice should come from, and we know how much oranges should cost. I suspect we also know that to make a carton of orange juice with real oranges, it would cost a fair deal more than what we pay. But still we buy it. So I suspect a generation of people just dont care about what they consume, and a (younger) generation of people dont know and have never known what a 'real' orange tastes like. So processed orange is orange.

The cultural definition, then, is not something round from a tree, rather, something square from a supermarket.

So. If you are a food economist, lobbyist, serious foodie, then buy this book. It is interesting and a good read. If, however, you were looking for a quick jaunt through the world of oranges, I would instead refer you to the back of your breakfast table cartoon and a bit of common sense about modern food production.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.3 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Orange Juice: Fascinating, But Not so Wholesome 8 Aug 2010
By Story Circle Book Reviews - Published on
Orange juice is healthy and wholesome. We drink it because it's fresh, full of Vitamin C and made from the natural fruit of orange trees. Right? Not hardly, says Alissa Hamilton in this darkly absorbing history of the Florida orange juice industry. Even if the carton says "not from concentrate," what you drink when you pour a glass of conventional, pre-squeezed orange juice is wholly industrialized, more a product of laboratory "food science" than of those sunshine-nourished orange groves Bing Crosby and Anita Bryant once pitched.

Hamilton set out to chronicle the orange juice industry's influence on the biodiversity of the sweet orange. When she and Dixi, her Jack Russell terrier-Chihuahua mix, drove to Lakeland, Florida, for four months at Florida Southern College, she hit the historian's mother-lode in the Thomas B. Mack Citrus Archives, presided over by Professor Mack himself, a nonagenarian who had studied the citrus industry for more than half a century "collecting weird and wonderful memorabilia along the way."

Documents Hamilton stumbled across in her "unmethodical" search of the archives--"the only type possible in the disarray," she comments in a wry aside--changed the direction of her research and painted a damming picture of the "wholesome" citrus industry and its "tree-fresh" product. Her discoveries--and the loss of the archives after Professor Mack died--have all the ingredients of a gripping detective story. Unfortunately, this thoroughly researched book is uneven, with long stretches that read more like a dissertation than a popular book.

It's not that Hamilton isn't a good writer. But in her enthusiasm to document the metamorphosis of the Florida orange juice industry from a fresh product to a laboratory evocation, and from individual growers hand-tending orchards of decades-old trees to industrial-scale orchards of trees "depleted" and replaced like worn-out dairy cows, the story bogs down. (The acronyms don't help: I kept stumbling over FCOJ for "frozen concentrated orange juice" and NFC OJ, "not from concentrate orange juice.")

The story in Squeezed, about an industry that became so successful in deceiving the consumer that it may have killed its own market, is an important contribution to the annals of our everyday food and how it is produced and marketed.

"I wrote this book with a modest ambition," Hamilton says in the Preface, "to make you look at your glass of pre-squeezed orange juice differently and begin to see through the opaque packages of food that surround you." She achieves that ambition and more. Although not an easy read, Squeezed is worth the effort.

by Susan J. Tweit
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
29 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thorough. 15 Oct 2009
By Michael Castleman - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a thorough, though sometimes dry (insert your own pun here), account of how orange juice came to be a product marketed as quite pure but in many senses actually anything but.

It makes for an interesting case study of one corner of our incredibly industrialized food system. The author seems quite fascinated by the regulatory hearings which led especially to the current state of affairs with respect to "not-for-concentrated" orange juice; the reader feels distinctly less fascinated than the author.

One thing of interest is precisely the lack of conclusions drawn. Yes, we conclude, orange juice is quite unlike the orange in the advertisements with the straw sticking straight out of it. And, yes, the way it came to be what it is today came from complex chemical, industrial, and legal processes. But there's also not any particular reason to think that these processes are dangerous or unhealthful -- just dishonest. So what, if anything, is to be done? The author deliberately refuses to answer.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting review of the Juice industry 12 May 2013
By Mary - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was interesting to read and provides a side of the juice industry that is not shown on the television ads! I enjoy reading books about all aspects of our food culture and environment. If that is not your thing you might not enjoy this book. If you believe that everyone needs to drink orange juice everyday you might be in for some surprises. As with any non-fiction book the reader should keep an open mind and perhaps be willing to do some follow up reading to get a different view.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Informative but repetitive 8 May 2014
By Art - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love OJ, but never really thought about how it was made. Armed with the information in this book, I am going to be a better consumer. The one fault with this book is it is quite repetitive. Information from the 1961 Standards of Identity hearings is repeated, sometimes several times.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Repetitive 2 Jun 2014
By Angel Varela - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
While some parts of the book are interesting and informative, the author spends an incredible amount of pages describing court proceedings on OJ identity .... I stopped reading the book.
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