American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of by Jonathan Bloom

By Jonathan Bloom

What Tom Vanderbilt did for site visitors and Brian Wansink did for senseless consuming, Jonathan Bloom does for nutrients waste. the subject couldn't be timelier: As extra everyone is going hungry whereas concurrently extra everyone is morbidly overweight, American barren region sheds gentle at the background, tradition, and mind-set of waste whereas exploring the parallel green and sustainable-food pursuits. because the period of remarkable prosperity involves an finish, it's time to reexamine our tradition of excess.Working at either an area supermarket and an incredible speedy nutrition chain and volunteering with a nutrients restoration team, Bloom additionally interviews experts-from Brian Wansink to Alice Waters to Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen-and digs up not just why and the way we waste, yet, extra importantly, what we will be able to do to alter our methods.

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Additional resources for American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It)

Sample text

25 Ancestral Appetites Breaking Down the Barriers Cooking methods tend to sort into two broad categories: those that mechanically break down structures that interfere with absorption of nutrients, and those that act at the molecular level to change or remove problematic chemicals. Mechanical methods include grinding, pounding, winnowing, chopping – whatever it takes to make nutrients more accessible to the body. Grinding and pounding increase the surface area of the particles to be consumed. Winnowing uses wind and gravity to carry away indigestible parts such as the “chaff” on grains (a mixture of leaflike bracts, stalks, and residual flower parts).

And perhaps a better option for females than depending on male hunters to provide them with meat was to become competent at using tools to extract some of the more refractory plant foods available, such as roots, seeds, and nuts. Some researchers have argued that the ability to exploit a wide range of plant foods was just as important as meat eating for fostering key trends in human evolution, such as encephalization (increased size of the brain), changes in dentition, and even the sexual division of labor.

When the transition from raw to cooked food began is not known. Most of the tools used to process plant foods, such as grinding stones and cooking pots, appear late in prehistory (after 40,000 years ago) and are associated with fully modern humans. For earlier periods, anthropologists rely on the occasional tool and evidence for the control of fire, which is often difficult to interpret. But even without being able to pinpoint the origin of cooking, it is possible to appreciate its significance in human history.

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