What's wrong with the US food system? Why is half the world starving while the other half battles obesity? Who decides our food issues, and why can't we do better with labeling, safety, or school food? These are complex questions that are hard to answer in an engaging way for a broad audience. But everybody eats, and food politics affects us all.
Marion Nestle, whom Michael Pollan ranked as the #2 most powerful foodie in America (after Michelle Obama) in Forbes, has always used cartoons in her public presentations to communicate how politics—shaped by government, corporate marketing, economics, and geography—influences food choice. Cartoons do more than entertain; the best get right to the core of complicated concepts and powerfully convey what might otherwise take pages to explain.
In Eat, Drink, Vote, Nestle teams up with The Cartoonist Group syndicate to present more than 250 of her favorite cartoons on issues ranging from dietary advice to genetic engineering to childhood obesity. Using the cartoons as illustration and commentary, she engagingly summarizes some of today's most pressing issues in food politics. While encouraging readers to vote with their forks for healthier diets, this book insists that it's also necessary to vote with votes to make it easier for everyone to make healthier dietary choices.
"Highly enetertaining and very smart."—Michael Pollan
"Is food political? Yes it is, as Food & Wine section readers know from 'Food Matters,' Marion Nestle's exclusive monthly column . . . in The Chronicle. Everyone eats, and politics affects what people eat. That's the overarching theme of what Nestle, an internationally recognized authority on food, nutrition and public policy, documents in her column and in her many award-winning books. Now, with her new book, Eat Drink Vote, Nestle takes a different approach to the subject, using editorial cartoons and other drawings to capture complex ideas in a nutshell. That starts with a pizza cartoon on the book cover. After intense industry lobbying, the funding authorization for the 2012 U.S. school lunch nutrition standards wound up counting the dabs of tomato paste on pizza as a serving of vegetables. Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Mike Peters captured the absurdity by turning the USDA Food Pyramid for healthy eating into a slice of pizza. Nestle worked with the Cartoonist Group, which includes about 50 editorial cartoonists and other illustrators, to illustrate key points. She divides the book into 10 chapters, with 250 cartoons. Topics are wide-ranging: food production, what to feed children, food marketing, food safety, hunger and food issues in international relations, animal welfare, regulations and changing the food system. The cartoons make it easy to page through the book and take in complex matters in short, thought-provoking bites. And to find very pointed humor in even the most serious issue."—San Francisco Chronicle
"Humor helps the food policy message go down . . . Nestle's new book, Eat, Drink, Vote, pairs her powerfully clear prose with more than 250 cartoons and comics to outline the hot button issues of today, from product labeling to genetic engineering to schoollunches. The combination is both serious and seriously funny . . . Nestle has used food-themed cartoons for years in lectures, finding they can help audiences grasp a complex food issue more easily. She has also tried to incorporate cartoons into her books. Nestle's text and the cartoons are, in her words, 'tightly linked' in Eat, Drink, Vote. They are indeed. Little red arrows help direct readers from the point she's making in words to the pertinent cartoon, a number of which offer an opinion different from hers. Nestle is OK with that. 'I wrote this book to lay out this stuff and let people make their own decisions,' she says. 'I hope this book can reach a large audience, an audience with a sense of humor.'"—Chicago Tribune