A culinary and cultural Luddite critiques the conspicuous consumption of modern American society. What do Julia Child, Walt Disney, and Dijon mustard have in common? According to Iggers, an ethics columnist and restaurant reviewer for the Minneapolis-St. Paul Tribune, they are all villains of postmodern culture, pulling us further and further away from any real connection with the sources of our physical and spiritual sustenance. Iggers dates the breach to the early 1960s, when Julia Child first broadcast the message of her ``foodie revolution'' to the nation. Before that, food and morality—the two are inextricably bound in Iggers's philosophy—were simple matters: ``We'd open the lunch box to find a bologna sandwich and a couple of Oreos, and we were satisfied.'' Now, argues Iggers, we have many choices from many cultures; easily obtainable, prepared meals; and food that is nothing more than an unnourishing Madison Avenue construct. The result is a morally charged, uncomfortable, love- hate relationship with what we eat. Iggers doesn't stop there, however, but goes on to criticize every aspect of '90s culture, from Martha Stewart Living to air conditioning. Iggers has a few valid points, but his rhetoric is so overblown and his message so simplistic that he often sounds like a parody of himself. And Iggers loses all credibility by constantly harking back to the 1950s as America's finest moral, cultural, and culinary moment. Skip the ethical bombast and head straight for the prescriptive final chapter, where Iggers offers some practical, if not wholly original, solutions to our unhealthy obsessions with food and consumerism.
Read full book review >