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Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


Despite a subtitle with the word "Selling," a term as loaded as they come, this is a fair-minded love letter to grocery stores and the many positive changes that they've made in the past couple decades. It will have you planning a field trip to Cleveland, and maybe forgiving Wholefoods for some of its prices. This is part memoir of life with a grocery store loving father, part history of the grocery store and innovations like frozen foods, cardboard boxes, and the shopping cart, and part exploration of the decisions and suppliers of each section of the modern grocery store. We meet among others, a rancher who grazes his pristine sheep on federal land, and a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic who has a very different take on the problem with GMO food. Ruhlman even gives you in the footnotes (all of them worth reading) the recipe for the single best-selling recipe at Heinen's, the family grocery chain who give him full access from fancy food shows to a stint as a grocery bagger. Ruhlman masterfully connects how we shop to how we live best, in this worthy update to Michael Pollan's Food Rules.

— From Carla's Picks


In Grocery, bestselling author Michael Ruhlman offers incisive commentary on America's relationship with its food and investigates the overlooked source of so much of itthe grocery store.

In a culture obsessed with food—how it looks, what it tastes like, where it comes from, what is good for us—there are often more questions than answers. Ruhlman proposes that the best practices for consuming wisely could be hiding in plain sight—in the aisles of your local supermarket. Using the human story of the family-run Midwestern chain Heinen's as an anchor to this journalistic narrative, he dives into the mysterious world of supermarkets and the ways in which we produce, consume, and distribute food. Grocery examines how rapidly supermarkets—and our food and culture—have changed since the days of your friendly neighborhood grocer. But rather than waxing nostalgic for the age of mom-and-pop shops, Ruhlman seeks to understand how our food needs have shifted since the mid-twentieth century, and how these needs mirror our cultural ones.

A mix of reportage and rant, personal history and social commentary, Grocery is a landmark book from one of our most insightful food writers.

About the Author

Michael Ruhlman is the author of critically acclaimed books including Grocery, The Soul of a Chef, The Elements of Cooking, Ratio, and Ruhlman’s Twenty. He has collaborated on several bestselling cookbooks, including The French Laundry Cookbook, Bouchon, and Alinea. He divides his time between Providence, Rhode Island, and New York City.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781419729539
ISBN-10: 1419729535
Publisher: Abrams Press
Publication Date: May 29th, 2018
Pages: 320
Language: English