The History and Science of Our 2.5-million-year Obsession With Meat

Book - 2016
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One of the great science and health revelations of our time is the danger posed by meat-eating. Every day, it seems, we are warned about the harm producing and consuming meat can do to the environment and our bodies. Many of us have tried to limit how much meat we consume, and many of us have tried to give it up altogether. But it is not easy to resist the smoky, cured, barbequed, and fried delights that tempt us. What makes us crave animal protein, and what makes it so hard to give up? And if consuming meat is truly unhealthy for human beings, why didn't evolution turn us all into vegetarians in the first place?

In Meathooked , science writer Marta Zaraska explores what she calls the "meat puzzle": our love of meat, despite its harmful effects. Zaraska takes us on a witty tour of meat cultures around the word, stopping in India's unusual steakhouses, animal sacrifices at temples in Benin, and labs in the Netherlands that grow meat in petri dishes. From the power of evolution to the influence of the meat lobby, and from our genetic makeup to the traditions of our foremothers, she reveals the interplay of forces that keep us hooked on animal protein.

A book for everyone from the diehard carnivore to the committed vegan, Meathooked illuminates one of the most enduring features of human civilization, ultimately shedding light on why meat-eating will continue to shape our bodies--and our world--into the foreseeable future.
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group, ©2016.
ISBN: 9780465036622
Characteristics: vii, 263 pages ;,25 cm.


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Mar 12, 2018

I agree with the previous reviewer that the underlying question in this book is the "Why" of eating meat, and Zaraska is fairly successful in keeping any bias out of it. Of course, it helps that she admits that although she is vegetarian, she does occasionally eat meat ;-) Makes those of us who are in the same boat feel not so guilty!
I found the tracing of meat-eating through history fascinating. I would have liked a little more information on alternatives, but that is a different book. If you are interested in how and why humans became meat-eaters, the chemistry of meat and cooking it, and business and politics combined to increase our dependence on animal flesh in our diets, this book is an excellent place to start.

Feb 10, 2018

A lot of books about diets, dieting, nutrition, and that sort of thing have an obnoxious, judgmental tone to them. The authors practically yell at the reader about how bad meat-eating is. In contrast, Marta Zaraska's book takes a much broader approach. She's interested in answering that one, fundamental question: "Why? Why do people find meat so tasty and so appealing in the first place?" This involves taking a wide look into human evolution, recent cultural changes, the economics of food production, and more. While there are a lot of places in the book that I wish it had more context and more details, and the bias in favor of vegetarianism is still there although far more even-handed than normal, Zaraska has still done great work.

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