Fake food, wrote Frederick Accum in 1820, had reached 'such a perfection of ingenuity' that 'spurious articles of various kinds are every where to be found, made up so skilfully as to baffle the discrimination of the most skilful judges'.
Have we ever been able to trust what we eat? Bad food has a history. Swindled tells it. Adulteration, like poverty, seems to be always with us, but the ingredients affected change constantly. As Pliny the Elder wrote in the first century AD 'So many poisons are employed to force wine ti suit our taste'. From fake tea leaves to swill milk, from ersatz coffee during the First World War to modern-day additives and food scandals - the swindlers are always with us. The question is what we do about them.
Through a mix of food politics, history and culinary detective work, Swindled uncovers the many methods by which swindlers have tampered with our food - and some of the ways that governments and individuals have tried to stop them. Swindled shows some of the ways we can learn to trust our food - and our own senses - again and embrace the pleasures of real whole food.
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Select praise for Swindled
'Wilson is a fervent lover of food but Swindled is no blind polemic...It is her considered and often humorous approach that makes this book so successful'.
'Rigorously researched...a fascinating and curiously uplifting read'.
'[Bee Wilson's] intellectual rigour and disciplined research skills prove a great match with her seamless and engaging writing - she manages to bring history alive,and leaves you wanting more.'