Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives Paperback – 26 Mar 2009
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"'Absolutely crammed with eye-opening facts and figures, a hugely readable account of the part we individually play in a global problem. Highly Recommended'" (Publishing News)
"Hungry City is a sinister real-life sequel to Animal Farm with the plot turned upside down by time in ways even George Orwell could not have foreseen" (Observer)
"Exuberant, provocative ... her desire that we understand better and think more about our food, how much we waste, how much energy it consumes and how we dispose of it - is in the real sense of the word - vital" (David Aaronovitch The Times)
"Hungry City is a smorgasbord of a book: dip into it and you will emerge with something fascinating" (Independent)
"She can précis her specialist sources briskly, and her own direct research (e.g. a mega kitchen for cooking ready meals) is lively" (Vera Rule Guardian)
`lively, wide-ranging, endlessly inquisitive book'See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Contrast the image of joyless contemporary supermarket shoppers - strip-lit lone prowlers debating forlornly with themselves about which highly packaged factory offering to microwave tonight - with the heady possibility of outdoor urban market-goers discussing food, tasting and learning. It's clear which one we'd all rather participate in, and yet Steel urges us not to be misty-eyed about the turn of the 21st century emerging market culture either. London's Borough Market is described as `food tourism' - laudable, but not affordable - a middle class aberration rather than a sustainable way of life for most of us. This typifies Steel's approach to her two-pronged subject: she is not afraid to slaughter sacred cows in her search for authenticity and meaning. This search takes her from London to the Middle East, from high flown ritual to domestic minutiae and from the mediaeval dining table to McDonalds without exhausting or overwhelming the reader.
As I read through Steel's journey, many similar food-inspired conflicts on the despair/hope axis spring to mind and make me feel at once revolutionary and impotent.Read more ›
Throughout the book, she uses fascinating examples from our distant and not so distant history to illustrate the effects that she describes. The book is made rich by her examination of so many different aspects of the relationship between cities and food, from the role of government, to the architecture and structure of cities, to the role of cooking and the way that waste is treated.
Steel's analysis is an eye-opener, and has put into context for me the role of urban planning with regard to globalisation and sustainability.
Hungry City isn't very much about hunger, which as one of my main interests was why I had picked it up. So it was full of surprises, but I wasn't disappointed because most surprisingly, it was a lot of fun. The author, Carolyn Steel, is an architect as well as a writer, but she seems mostly to be interested in a broad and hard to define area called urbanism, which is like a mash-up of all of the subjects ever but with a focus on cities. I'm into urbanism as well, it's one of my main interests. You can see why I was drawn to this book.
Carolyn takes us on a wide-ranging journey through the homes and markets of the city and the surrounding areas that support it (warning: terrible pun ahead). Food for thought: have you considered that until we were able to transport food long distances without it spoiling, with planes or trains or refrigerated trucks, cities were basically forced to only grow as far as the land around could support them, or had to be by the sea and get their food from ships. Ships at the time were like spaceships to us, probably some of the most advanced technology in the world, going to places people could barely dream of visiting, and the most expensive things many people would come into contact with. I digress. So does Carolyn in this book. It's immensely enjoyable.
Hungry City touches on environmental matters quite openly and consistently.Read more ›
From the final pages of this book the above is a quote that really resounded with me. From a different line of reasoning upon different aspects of the human relationship to food I had come to think upon very similar lines to this summation of Ms Steels view but could never had articulated matters so succinctly.
Hungry City is a thoroughly researched and insightfully compiled commentary upon the relationship of food, food provisioning, and urban development. It is thought provoking and well grounded in analysis of historical associations and quotations that add gravitas to the arguments that are presented, and in so doing expands the potential range of viewpoint and interest that a reader might adopt.
I'd agree with the four foregoing complimentary reviews. People could take an interest in 'Hungry City' for quite different reasons and could derive great satisfaction from it for equally diverse reasons. It is a book that deserves much positive comment and, though undoubtedly a minority interest, it is a book that would benefit humankind for reaching a wider readership. But the book did not entirely fulfill my own expectations. Something in some promotional material that drew my attention to it had raised them. Perhaps I anticipated a somewhat more robust thesis and analysis of contemporary challenges along with clearer suggestions about how to address them. These are features that are present but I felt presentation and structure did fully develop coherency in some of the themes.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My friends recommend it to me,It is a good book for those interest in space and the human activities.Published 3 months ago by dora
Superb expose of the truth behind Britain's food industry. Recommended reading for anyone interested in how our food reaches our tables.Published on 6 Sept. 2013 by cinnamon10
A cornucopia of delicious facts and a shopping list of hope. Steel's book bulges with great insight and opens up that foggy map of the food world that cannot be found on the plate. Read morePublished on 8 Nov. 2011 by Adam
...which is a real shame. I completely agree with where she's coming from and what she says. I don't disagree with her analysis or her recommendations, though I think that the... Read morePublished on 17 Sept. 2011 by Jezza
I have been to the author's lectures here in Copenhagen, and her book is an excellent follow up to this.Published on 19 Jun. 2011 by Ann
Carolyn Steel sets out a very basic but important argument - that by putting food (in all its aspects) at the centre of a perspective about the future, then we are better able to... Read morePublished on 6 Dec. 2010 by Mr. D. W. Hargreaves
This book was clearly a labour of love for Carolyn Steel. This is one of the most fascinating books that I have read recently and her passion for the subject shines through. Read morePublished on 2 Oct. 2010 by M. Coker
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