Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, from Sustainable to Suicidal (Paperback)
From hunting and gathering to GMOs and ultra-processed foods, this expansive tour of human history rewrites the story of our species and points the way to a better future.
The history of Homo sapiens is usually told as a story of technology or economics. But there is a more fundamental driver: food. How we hunted and gathered explains our emergence as a new species and our earliest technology; our first food systems, from fire to agriculture, tell where we settled and how civilizations expanded. The quest for food for growing populations drove exploration, colonialism, slavery, even capitalism.
A century ago, food was industrialized. Since then, advancing styles of agriculture and food production have written a new chapter of human history, one that’s driving both climate change and global health crises. Best-selling food authority Mark Bittman offers a panoramic view of the story and explains how we can rescue ourselves from the modern wrong turn.
About the Author
MARK BITTMAN is the author of more than thirty books, including the How to Cook Everything series and the #1 New York Times bestseller VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good. He was a food columnist, opinion columnist, and the lead magazine food writer at the New York Times, where he started writing in 1984 and remained for more than thirty years.
Bittman has starred in four television series, including Showtime’s Emmy-winning Years of Living Dangerously. He is a longtime Today regular and has made hundreds of television, radio, and podcast appearances, including on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Real Time with Bill Maher, and CBS’s The Dish; and on NPR’s All Things Considered, Fresh Air, and Morning Edition.
Bittman has written for countless publications and spoken at dozens of universities and conferences; his 2007 TED talk “What’s wrong with what we eat?” has almost five million views. He was a distinguished fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, and a fellow at the Union of Concerned Scientists. He has received six James Beard Awards, four IACP Awards, and numerous other honors.
Bittman is currently special advisor on food policy at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where he teaches and hosts a lecture series. He is also the editor in chief of Heated. His most recent book is his history of food and humanity, Animal, Vegetable, Junk.