From Poison Sweets to Counterfeit Coffee - The Dark History of the Food Cheats
By Bee Wilson
Bad food has a history. Swindled tells it.
Salmonella . . . toxins . . . additives . . . food scares . . . Have you ever wondered how our food has become so untrustworthy? Have we ever been able to trust what we eat?
Via a fascinating mix of food politics, history and culinary detective work, Bee Wilson uncovers the many methods by which swindlers have tampered with our food throughout history.
From the leaded wine of ancient Rome to the food piracy of the twenty-first century we see the extraordinary ways food has been padded, poisoned, spiked, coloured, substituted, faked and mislabelled everywhere it has been sold.
Bee Wilson reveals the strong historical currents which enable the fraudsters to flourish; the battle of the science of deception against the science of detection; the struggle to establish reliable standards. She also suggests some small ways in which we can all protect ourselves from swindles and learn to trust what we eat again.
Bee Wilson is an award-winning food writer and historian. For five years she was the food critic for the New Statesman; since 2003 she has written a weekly food column for the Sunday Telegraph (The Kitchen Thinker in Stella). For several years she was a research fellow at St Johns College, Cambridge, where she worked on the history of ideas. Her first book, The Hive, was published by John Murray in 2004. She is married with two children.
- Other details
- Publication date:
08 Jan 2009
- Page count:
'Meticulously researched and fascinating to read, Swindled is guaranteed to give you food for thought' — Daily Express
'A wonderully written, thrilling rollercoaster of a book . . . A must-read: loaded with flavour, it is a satisfying rich stew of savoury details and meaty chunks of information - nourishment for the mind' — Sunday Telegraph
'Riveting . . . If ever a book could convince you that the only food worth eating is that which you have scrupulously shopped for in reputable local shops and cooked yourself from scratch, it is this one' — Daily Mail
'Bee Wilson is not only an able historian but a food writer with a passion rooted very much in the present. She wants to shake us awake, to make us look afresh at the food we eat. She does so triumphantly . . . erudite and entertaining . . . Wilson is a fervent lover of food but Swindled is not blind polemic . . . It is her considered and often humorous approach that makes this book so successful' — Sunday Times
'[Bee Wilson's] intellectual rigour and disciplined research skills prove a great match with her seamless and engaging writing - she manages to bring history alive, and leaves you wanting more' — Time Out
'Gripping reading - don't miss it' — Sainsbury's Magazine
'Lively and well-argued' — Sunday Express
'Engrossing' — Financial Times
'A cautionary tale, it provides ample food for thought' — Tatler
'Wilson brings a humorous touch to the history of swindlers who have tampered with our food' — Oxford Times