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The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor Hardcover

4.4 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476724210
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476724218
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 422 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #192,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Dorito effect is that the more raw food we produce, the more bland and nutritionally worthless it becomes, the more flavors we must add to make it interesting and the more varieties we have to offer because it so unappealing. Fruit, vegetables, chicken, beef – all taste nothing like they used to and mainly taste like nothing. So we add chipotle and soy, mustard and curry, salt and pepper. And aromas. And “natural flavorings”. We consume five times as much spice as we did after the first world war, when the first stats appeared. The first third of the book is all about faking flavors (with astonishing precision and success) to make food industrially.

The flavorings industry is a giant you never heard of. They are not household brands (except for McCormick) but sell billions in flavorings to cover the fact that mass produced and industrially processed food has no taste. Food is becoming more like cigarettes, Schatzker says. All foods taste different, but underneath, they’re all processed dull, flat and nutritionless, if not downright harmful. Humans now eat like livestock.

The invention of gas chromatography has taken all the magic out of taste and aroma. We now have the ability to create or recreate pretty much any gustatory sensation possible, faking our way to variety, where spectacular taste once ruled. Fruits and vegetables are much blander, because we breed the goodness out when we breed for volume. Same with beef, chicken and pork; they are much fatter and blander than they used to be, and all require vast quantities of coatings, sauces and spices to make up for their lack of taste.

The middle third of the book is research into “nutritional wisdom”; plants and animals instinctively know what they need.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a fascinating and illuminating account of the transformation of taste from nature's wondrous system of linking tastes to bodily needs into an artificial free-for-all. It provides an invaluable complement to our understanding of our problems with food, both individual and societal. The book is highly stimulating, informative, and satisfying on more levels than one.

The audiobook is fine, but the reading is unbearably slow; however, it is fine if you speed it up to 2x or 3x — even 1 ½ x would be OK.
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By Hart TOP 500 REVIEWER on Oct. 19 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I knew that food companies were using scientists to manipulate fats, sugars, and salt to get us addicted, I just didn't realize how far this went until reading this book. The author provides a great deal of background information on how we got to this point where flavour is now something that has to be manufactured and added since factory food has become so bland. Information includes the way all foods have been manipulated for quantity production rather than quality and this includes meats. Why in the world would McCormick need to develop flavourings that make meat taste like meat? If poultry and beef producers were concerned with bringing to our tables product that was wholesome rather than fast food (as in chickens or beef animals being juiced (hormones and all manner of chemicals) up to grow at four times the natural rate) we wouldn't need chemicals to make the food taste real.

It's insanity to keep buying junk that needs chemicals to make it taste good. Support your local farmers who provide organic produce and ignore the mega corporations that focus on profit rather than quality.
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Format: Hardcover
4.5 Stars...

Teddy-bear stuffing: great for cuddling but not so great for eating. Yet, in "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," Julia Child describes modern, unseasoned chicken as such. Mark Schatzker agrees, asserting that the food industry has robbed meat, dairy and produce of real flavour and replaced it with water and preservatives. In "The Dorito Effect," he hypothesizes that flavour influences not just taste but also health. As food technology evolves, humans have collectively gained weight; as flavour disappears, so does nutrition. We graze on refined sugars, inhale bagfuls of chips and still want more because our bodies lack necessary nutrients. Flavour thus proves essential to good food and good health.

Schatzker doesn't shy from graphic detail, explaining how factories feed live chickens into grinders, how the term "natural flavours" only indicates that a natural process like distillation performed flavour extraction and how delicious fruit cannot cause the same cravings as a two-bite brownie. And, like many before him, the author delves deep into the science of food and produces some dense writing about goats and plant secondary compounds.

However, though far from a light read, the writing contains enough cleverness and wit to make it highly enjoyable. Schatzker deftly balances hype with honesty about the plight of those trying to effect change and illustrates that we need to start paying attention to what we put in our bodies. He recognizes the difficulty of this task, noting that only the most well-to-do have the time and money to seek out the most flavourful food available, so he culminates his book in an appendix filled with practical tips on how to eat more flavourfully.

Schatzker ultimately empowers the consumer, noting that, “if there is money in real flavour, [Big Food] will give people real flavour,” Time to stop eating teddy-bear stuffing and start demanding more of our grocers.
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