Pandora's Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal

Posted: Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 8:30 am

In brief


An interesting, educational and sometimes humorous look at the American diet (from processed cheese to boxed cereal), and how it got that way.

Melanie Warner, a business reporter for the New York Times, has been conducting a science experiment in her home office for years... curiously testing the limits of processed foods. Her findings? They last a long time.

Pandora's Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal was a well-written, anecdotal book about how food and food products in the United States have changed over the years. I learned a lot about people who were advocates for real, fresh food in the American diet through history, and the challenges they faced. There are stories of the Kellogg brothers, Subway bread and food scientists who have changed the way we eat, but for good and for bad.

What I really like about Pandora's Lunchbox is that it has a realistic approach to expectations regarding eating 100% natural foods 100% of the time (as in... that is not realistic). I learned some new things about how brands are connected, how much advertising dollars impact what we eat and a little bit more about making healthy choices in the grocery store. This book was a pretty easy read, and a little less scientific than another title I would recommend, Salt, Sugar, Fat. Take a look, and you might learn something new about the food in your cupboard and how it got there!