Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession with Meat

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Basic Books, Feb 23, 2016 - Cooking - 272 pages
One of the great science and health revelations of our time is the danger posed by meat-eating. Every day, it seems, we are warned about the harm producing and consuming meat can do to the environment and our bodies. Many of us have tried to limit how much meat we consume, and many of us have tried to give it up altogether. But it is not easy to resist the smoky, cured, barbequed, and fried delights that tempt us. What makes us crave animal protein, and what makes it so hard to give up? And if consuming meat is truly unhealthy for human beings, why didn't evolution turn us all into vegetarians in the first place?

In Meathooked, science writer Marta Zaraska explores what she calls the “meat puzzle”: our love of meat, despite its harmful effects. Zaraska takes us on a witty tour of meat cultures around the word, stopping in India's unusual steakhouses, animal sacrifices at temples in Benin, and labs in the Netherlands that grow meat in petri dishes. From the power of evolution to the influence of the meat lobby, and from our genetic makeup to the traditions of our foremothers, she reveals the interplay of forces that keep us hooked on animal protein.

A book for everyone from the diehard carnivore to the committed vegan, Meathooked illuminates one of the most enduring features of human civilization, ultimately shedding light on why meat-eating will continue to shape our bodies—and our world—into the foreseeable future.

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MEATHOOKED: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession with Meat

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With an open mind, a vegetarian journalist examines our "love affair with meat." Zaraska cites evidence that vegetarians live longer and familiar statistics showing a correlation between meat ... Read full review


1 Enter Meat Eaters
2 Big Brains Small Guts and the Politics of Meat
3 The Good the Bad and the Heme Iron
Umami Aromas and Fat
5 Why Would Abramovich Taste Good?
6 Wagging the Dog of Demand
7 Eating Symbols
9 Why Giving Up Meat May Be Harder for Some of Us
10 Dog Skewers Beef Burgers and Other Weird Meats
11 The Pink Revolution or How Asia Is Getting Hooked on Meat Fast
12 The Future of Our MeatBased Diets
Epilogue The Nutrition Transition Stage 5

8 The HalfCrazed SourVisaged Infidels or Why Vegetarianism Failed in the Past

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About the author (2016)

Marta Zaraska is a Polish-Canadian journalist whose science writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Newsweek, Los Angeles Times, Scientific American, and New Scientist, among others. Zaraska divides her time between France and the United States.

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