Real Food/Fake Food
“Impressive . . . Readers will be inspired by Olmsted's intensity and clarity, and floored by how far some counterfeiters go to fool consumers and some historic food institutions go to protect their products and their names. Olmsted’s sharp language will hopefully put fires under counterfeiters everywhere . . . With the guiding hand of a good friend and prose that keeps the reader’s eye moving, Olmsted insists that readers ‘shop better and cook more.’”Publishers Weekly, starred review

You’ve seen the headlines: Parmesan cheese made from wood pulp. Lobster rolls containing no lobster at all. Extra-virgin olive oil that isn’t. Fake foods are in our supermarkets, our restaurants, and our kitchen cabinets. Award-winning food journalist and travel writer Larry Olmsted exposes this pervasive and dangerous fraud perpetrated on unsuspecting Americans.   
Real Food/Fake Food brings readers into the unregulated food industry, revealing that this shocking deception extends from high-end foods like olive oil, wine, and Kobe beef to everyday staples such as coffee, honey, juice, and cheese. It’s a massive bait and switch where counterfeiting is rampant and where the consumer ultimately pays the price.

But Olmsted does more than show us what foods to avoid. A bona fide gourmand, he travels to the sources of the real stuff, to help us recognize what to look for, eat, and savor: genuine Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy, fresh-caught grouper from Florida, authentic port from Portugal. Real foods that are grown, raised, produced, and prepared with care by masters of their craft.  

Part cautionary tale, part culinary crusade, Real Food/Fake Food is addictively readable, mouth-wateringly enjoyable, and utterly relevant. Larry Olmsted convinces us why real food matters.

Real Food/Fake Food Details

Book TitleReal Food/Fake Food
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Real Food/Fake Food Reviews

  • Shomeret
    Oct 1, 2016


    When I decided to read Real Food/Fake Food by Larry Olmsted after seeing it on my Goodreads feed, my main concern with fake food was whether my health was being endangered by it. I learned that Larry Olmsted is what was once called a gourmet, but would now be referred to as a foodie. H...

  • Avani
    Sep 28, 2016


    This is high in the running for the most expensive book I've ever read. Olmstead loves food, and he makes you love food. I don't like cheese, and the first chapter of this book had me craving parmagiano-reggiano, topped of course with a balsamic vinegar from modena (note: I've had fanc...

  • C
    Sep 26, 2016


    This book will make you mad, especially at the FDA. Despite some horrific errors like "Columbia" (referring to the country of Colombia) and "principal" (instead of principle), it is a fascinating and enlightening read. Your shopping list should change as a result of reading this book. ...

  • Jane
    Sep 25, 2016


    This writing in this book seemed more emotional than scientific or informative. Many times in farming or animal husbandry decisions are made for improving production and lowering costs. I agree that natural products are better but the population size of the world at present doesnt allo...

  • Ashley
    Sep 13, 2016


    Anyone who knows me knows I'm a foodie on many levels. I simply could not finish this book because it was too depressing. It proves you simply cannot trust 95% of what you buy in the grocery store. That is not an exaggeration. It's frightening. It takes the saying ignorance is bliss to...

  • Daddysdiner
    Sep 10, 2016


    Very informative and more than a bit upsetting when you read about all the fake stuff that you've probably been consuming for years and years. Labels are mostly useless; "100% all beef hotdog" doesn't mean that there's only beef in that dog. It just means that the small bit of beef in ...

  • Beth Cato
    Sep 1, 2016

    Beth Cato

    I received this through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.Olmstead presents a disturbing, thoughtful analysis of the proliferation of Fake Food in the American food industry. Many of these stories are ones that flickered through mainstream news headlines in recent years, such as...

  • Sara
    Sep 1, 2016


    I received a free advanced copy of this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review.This book was hardly what I was expecting when I got it. I was expecting talk of GMOs and processed foods. Instead, I was confronted with the notion that the USA ...

  • Leslie
    Aug 30, 2016


    I loved this book it inspired me to be a better shopper and a better diner.After reading this book you will understand import facts about:Parmesan cheese - there can be only one everything else is fakeChampagne only comes from the champagne region of France and whyWhy American wines an...

  • Colin
    Aug 30, 2016


    I am careful about reading ingredients. We prefer to cook and avoid processed foods. But after reading this book, it is clear seafood and restaurants are risky. Any seafood from Alaska is okay, since Alaska is strict. The results of DNA testing of sushi show a shocking amount of fraud,...