I usually review cookbooks for Feed Me I’m Hungry, but I thought it would be a fun change to review something food related that wasn’t a cookbook. So I asked for a copy of This Is What You Just Put In Your Mouth?, by Patrick Di Justo. I thought to myself, “it will be so interesting to find out what’s in different foods and products that I use.”
My copy arrived quickly. I eagerly tore the package open, and found myself looking at a photo of a simple cup of coffee. There are four captions surrounding the photo. They read, “cockroach pheromone, rotting meat odor, teeth bacteria fighter, antioxidant.” My next thoughts was, “Oh dear goodness! There’s a bunch of gross and weird stuff in coffee!! Never mind, I don’t want to know what’s in my food after all. Leave me alone and let me drink my coffee in peace.”
I’ve gotta admit I put off reading the book for a while after that. But, eventually I did make myself pick it back up, and as I actually started reading I found myself way less alarmed then I thought I would be. First of all, yes, there are some totally gross and horrible things in some food. But, most of the gross stuff is in highly processed foods we all pretty much knew were fake anyway (so, surprise, surprise, right?). Most real foods are just that, real food.
I will also tell you (in case like me you were worried about the whole cockroach pheromones and coffee thing) that there are not actual cockroach pheromones in your coffee. 2-Ethylphenol, which is in coffee, is a component of the cockroach alarm pheromone. As in, they both contain the same chemical. But no one actually stuck cockroach bits in your coffee or anything. There’s also a similar situation going on with the rotting meat odor/coffee thing. Putrescine is a very bad smelling but organic compound that occurs naturally in coffee beans. This same compound is also produced by E. coli bacteria when they break down meat, hence the rotting meat odor thing. Admittedly, this one still sounds kinda gross, but, then again there isn’t actual rotting meat (or E. coli) in your coffee. So… I kinda wish I didn’t know that coffee has anything in common with E. coli; but I can deal and certainly won’t be giving up my morning brew.
Once I got over that initial alarm factor, I actually found parts of This Is What You Just Put In Your Mouth? to be pretty darn fascinating. The book is well written and clearly extremely well researched. And it is actually pretty interesting to take a scientific look at the components of our food and other products. Plus, this book definitely ended up strengthening my resolve that it’s probably a good idea to eat as much real food as possible, and avoid processed junk. I definitely think I’ll be avoiding feeding my kids anything with Red Dye #40 (Derived from petroleum, in Europe not recommended for children as it may have adverse effects on them.). I’ll let you read the entry on Chocolate Cherry Cordials or check out this article if you want to know more.
However, I will say that unless you are really fascinated by the topic of what’s in our food, you probably won’t find yourself reading the entire book cover to cover; as it’s organized in more of a reference guide format rather then a narrative. I think most people will find they will want to look up a few specific foods or products they are curious about; but I don’t envision that they will end up reading about every topic the book covers.
Over all, I would say this is a interesting and quirky book worthy of a little time for any foodie. But, unless you’re also very scientifically minded, or very worried about what you’re eating, I might check it out from the library rather then purchase.
I received a free review copy of This Is What You Just Put In Your Mouth? from Blogging For Books in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own. The link included in this article forThis Is What You Just Put In Your Mouth? is an affiliate link. I will receive a small percentage of the sale should you choose to purchase after following the link. I appreciate your monetary support of Feed Me I’m Hungry.