For the first time in human history, there is food in abundance throughout the world. More people than ever before are now freed of the struggle for daily survival, yet few of us are aware of how food lands on our plates. Behind every meal you eat, there is a story. Hamburgers in Paradise explains how. In this wise and passionate book, Louise Fresco takes readers on an enticing cultural journey to show how science has enabled us to overcome past scarcities--and why we have every reason to be optimistic about the future. Using hamburgers in the Garden of Eden as a metaphor for the confusion surrounding food today, she looks at everything from the dominance of supermarkets and the decrease of biodiversity to organic foods and GMOs. She casts doubt on many popular claims about sustainability, and takes issue with naive rejections of globalization and the idealization of "true and honest" food. Fresco explores topics such as agriculture in human history, poverty and development, and surplus and obesity.
She provides insightful discussions of basic foods such as bread, fish, and meat, and intertwines them with social topics like slow food and other gastronomy movements, the fear of technology and risk, food and climate change, the agricultural landscape, urban food systems, and food in art. The culmination of decades of research, Hamburgers in Paradise provides valuable insights into how our food is produced, how it is consumed, and how we can use the lessons of the past to design food systems to feed all humankind in the future.
Louise O. Fresco is president of Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands. The author of several books, she is a member of the Council of Advisors for the World Food Prize and has worked extensively in developing countries for many years. She lives in Amsterdam.
INTRODUCTION Food-A Voyage of Discovery ix ONE Paradise: An Exceptional Ecology 1 Pictures of Paradise 1 Paradise as an Ecosystem 8 Paradise Measured against an Ecological Yardstick 11 Paradise as a Garden 15 The Paradise Theory 19 TWO Eve's Temptation: Apple and Hamburger 27 Fall and Knowledge 27 Scarcity and Temptation 33 Rules and Taboos 37 Eve's Hamburger 42 THREE Agriculture: A Triumph of Hard Work 49 Agriculture as Myth 49 The Very Beginning 53 Domestication of Plants and Animals 61 Farming as an Ecological Balancing Act 68 The Dominant Form of Land Use 72 Agriculture as a Matter of Public Interest 79 FOUR Bread: The Most Iconic of Foods 83 Bread as a Symbol 83 Bread as a Staple 88 Carbohydrates 97 Bread and Health 99 FIVE Meat: Necessity and Luxury 103 The Omnivorous Human 107 Essential Nutrients 113 Meat as an Unavoidable By-Product 115 Animal Proteins Have a Place in Almost All Cultures 117 Unease and Change 123 Traditional and Ritual Slaughter 128 Dangers of Livestock Farming 130 New Proteins, New Ideas 132 Meat Avoiders, Meat Reducers, and Flexitarians 137 SIX Liquid Paradise: Food from Water 141 Darting Fish and Dark Monsters 141 Human and Fish 145 From Fish 'n' Chips to Sashimi 152 Seas of Plenty 157 Taming Fish: Aquaculture 162 From Plenty to an Awareness of Scarcity 165 SEVEN Hairy Apples: The Challenge of Biotechnology 171 On Chaos, Monsters, and Paradise 171 Genetic Intervention as Part of Our History 174 Genetic Modification as Continuity and Discontinuity 179 The End and the Means 186 Biotechnology, Hunger, and Poverty (1): The Case of Cassava 189 Biotechnology, Hunger, and Poverty (2): Golden Rice 194 Risks and Continuing Controversies 197 Genetic Resources Aplenty 204 Lost Innocence 208 EIGHT Homesick for Paradise: "Organic" and "Natural" 213 "Organic" and "Natural" as a Moral Choice 213 Related Ideas 219 What Exactly Is "Organic"? 223 Is Organic Better? 227 The Weight of Good Intentions 236 NINE Biodiversity: From Landscape to Gene 243 The Renaissance of the Countryside 246 From Countryside to Cultivated Landscape 251 Farming and Biological Diversity 255 Diversity and Food Security 262 TEN Roast Wolf and Deconstructed Olive: Cooking and Eating as a Worldview 275 Cooking and Eating in the Food Chain 275 Raw, Cooked, and Pure 281 Food as a Mirror of a Changing World 290 Cooking as Construct and Philosophy 296 Slow Food and Whole Food 299 Dinner's Ready! 303 Eating and Cooking as a Dilemma 307 ELEVEN Paradise on Every Street Corner: Food in the City 311 Onions beside the Highways 311 The Belly of the City 319 Daily Temptation: The Supermarket 324 The City as a Public Eating Place 330 Food and Green Places as Urban Counterculture 335 City Farming: The New Interweaving of the City and Food Production 338 The High-Tech Green Metropolis 341 TWELVE An Embarrassment of Riches: The Food Chain 345 The Long Road from Farm to Fork 345 Safe, but Not Risk Free 349 Chained by Chains 354 The Dilemmas of Human Food Supplies 361 Reading Food: Logos, Certificates, and Labels 368 THIRTEEN A Shrinking Paradise: Back to Scarcity? 375 Paradise in Crisis 375 Nature and Guilt 380 How Scarcity Disappeared 386 Trouble in Paradise: Real Scarcity and Shrinkage 389 Paradise Won and Lost 399 FOURTEEN A Paradise within Reach: Sustainable Food Production 403 The Future Is Now 403 Lessons of the Green Revolution 408 The Price of Food 414 Sustainability as Political Consensus 417 Market Failures 421 Small Farms: The Key to Sustainable Food? 425 Sustainable Green Revolutions 428 FIFTEEN Food: Irresistible and Emotionally Charged 437 Hunger and Scarcity 437 Beyond Paradise: The Distribution of Scarcity 441 The Obesogenic Environment 444 Fat or Lean 448 Emotionally Charged Food 454 Food Choice and Moderation 457 From Abundance to a Healthy Balance 461 SIXTEEN In Conclusion: Eve's Paradise 471 The Hamburgerization of the World 471 Paradise Lost and Found 475 The Great Stalemate 479 Dietary Laws, Again 483 And Paradise? 487 Bibliography 491 Index 519 Color plates follow pages 174 and 270.