2014/07/30

Twinkie, Deconstructed – pop-science journey into ingredients in common processed foods

 

Twinkie, Deconstructed

imageA pop-science journey into the surprising ingredients found in dozens of common processed foods, using the Twinkie label as a guide

Like most Americans, Steve Ettlinger eats processed foods. And, like most consumers, he often reads the ingredients label—without a clue as to what most of it means. So, when his young daughter asked, “Daddy, what’s polysorbate 60?” while eating ice cream bars at the beach on a hot summer day, he was at a loss—and determined to find out.

In this fascinating exploration into the curious world of packaged foods, Twinkie, Deconstructed takes us from phosphate mines in Idaho to corn fields in Iowa, from gypsum mines in Oklahoma to oil fields in China, to demystify some of America’s most common processed food ingredients—where they come from, how they are made, how they are used—and why. Beginning at the source (hint: they’re often more closely linked to rocks and petroleum than any of the four food groups), Ettlinger reveals how each Twinkie ingredient goes through the process of being crushed, baked, fermented, refined, and/or reacted into a totally unrecognizable goo or powder with a strange name—all for the sake of creating a simple snack cake.

An insightful, entertaining exploration of modern food industry, if you’ve ever wondered what you’re eating when you consume foods containing mono and diglycerides or calcium sulfate (the latter, a food-grade equivalent of plaster of Paris), this book is for you.

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