A hefty update of The Supermarket Handbook (1973) covering as much ground for the ""wholefoods""-oriented as any current...



A hefty update of The Supermarket Handbook (1973) covering as much ground for the ""wholefoods""-oriented as any current reference work. As before, the Goldbecks aim to steer the buyer through a mine field of products (in 38 chapters covering everything from potato chips to Thanksgiving turkeys and farmed fish). But their focus now reflects the hugely expanded role of soi-disant health foods. The supermarket is a less central venue, and there is a greater emphasis on specialty sources. Sadly, the Goldbecks often stumble in the fresh-food department. Bright color is not (as they suggest) any guide to the quality of apples; the designation ""available in summer"" is shaky for both fiddleheads (a spring specialty) and fennel (fall). And their ""Exemplary Brands"" recommendations are useful only for products like cold cereals with real national distribution; recommending names (without addresses) for necessarily local things like raw-milk dairies is an exercise in frustration. There is something less than scientific rigor in the authors' constant assertions that some additive ""has been implicated"" or ""is suspected of a role"" in cancers or other illnesses. But they are keen and systematic in their debunking of many ""natural"" or ""nothing artificial"" claims swathing assemblages of guar gum, algin, and hydrolyzed vegetable protein (for example, salad dressing mixes). They also make a good case that eggs, milk, and butterfat in just about any form are far preferable, cholesterol or no cholesterol, to snythesized/stabilized/emulsified/hydrogenated alternatives. All told: a solid, far reaching retooling of a conscientious caveat-emptor manual.

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 1987


Page Count: -

Publisher: New American Library

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1987