Have you read: Processed food scrutinized in ‘Twinkie, Deconstructed’ | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Have you read: Processed food scrutinized in ‘Twinkie, Deconstructed’

Mark Dulyanai

Many journeys start with a simple question. Author Steve Ettlinger’s journey started with his daughter asking him “Where does pol-y-sor-bate six-tee come from, Daddy?” Ettlinger, the author of such books as “The Complete Guide To Everything Sold In Hardware Stores,” “The Complete Guide To Everything Sold In Garden Centers,” “The Complete Guide To Everything Sold In Marine Supply Stores” and “Guides For Dummies” to both French and Italian wines, took this question seriously. Ettlinger’s resultant work is “Twinkie, Deconstructed: My Journey to Discover How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods Are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated Into What America Eats.”

Steve Ettlinger admits early on that he is a compulsive reader of food ingredients on labels. It was his daughter’s question that brought him to various places around the globe to research the individual ingredients of the Twinkie. During his journey he discovers our processed food connections to everything from Homeland Security to modern weapons.

The book is divided into chapters that are devoted to the myriad ingredients that are present in the Twinkie. Most of the information that Ettlinger presents is culled from representatives from the various manufacturers. Ettlinger was allowed various levels of access to the plants, refineries and mines that make the stuff of the Twinkie and other processed food products. Some places were highly secretive (chlorine processing plants, for example) and others were quite open (wheat farms).

“Twinkie, Deconstructed” is a fascinating look not just into the Twinkie, but also into the world of processed foods. I found the book to be fun to read, and I could skip around to various ingredients that piqued my curiosity. “Twinkie, deconstructed” will appeal to those of us who enjoyed books like “On Food and Cooking” by Harold McGee and “Fast Food Nation” by Eric Schlosser. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in food.

– Mark Dulyanai is a library assistant at the South Lake Tahoe Branch Library.


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