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The Lost Art of Feeding Kids: What Italy Taught Me about Why Children Need Real Food

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A lively story of raising a child to enjoy real food in a processed world, and the importance of maintaining healthy food cultures   Why is it so easy to find su­gary cereals and dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets in a grocery store, but so hard to shop for nutritious, simple food for our children? If you’ve ever wondered this, you’re not alone. But it might surprise you to le A lively story of raising a child to enjoy real food in a processed world, and the importance of maintaining healthy food cultures   Why is it so easy to find su­gary cereals and dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets in a grocery store, but so hard to shop for nutritious, simple food for our children? If you’ve ever wondered this, you’re not alone. But it might surprise you to learn that this isn’t just an American problem.   Packaged snacks and junk foods are displacing natural, home-cooked meals throughout the world—even in Italy, a place we tend to associate with a healthy Mediterranean diet. Italian children traditionally sat at the table with the adults and ate everything from anchovies to artichokes. Parents passed a love of seasonal, regional foods down to their children, and this generational appreciation of good food turned Italy into the world culinary capital we’ve come to know today.   When Jeannie Marshall moved from Canada to Rome, she found the healthy food culture she expected. However, she was also amazed to find processed foods aggressively advertised and junk food on every corner. While determined to raise her son on a traditional Italian diet, Marshall sets out to discover how even a food tradition as entrenched as Italy’s can be greatly eroded or even lost in a single generation. She takes readers on a journey through the processed-food and marketing industries that are re-manufacturing our children’s diets, while also celebrating the pleasures of real food as she walks us through Roman street markets, gathering local ingredients from farmers and butchers.   At once an exploration of the US food industry’s global reach and a story of finding the best way to feed her child, The Lost Art of Feeding Kids examines not only the role that big food companies play in forming children’s tastes, and the impact that has on their health, but also how parents and communities can push back to create a culture that puts our kids’ health and happiness ahead of the interests of the food industry.


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A lively story of raising a child to enjoy real food in a processed world, and the importance of maintaining healthy food cultures   Why is it so easy to find su­gary cereals and dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets in a grocery store, but so hard to shop for nutritious, simple food for our children? If you’ve ever wondered this, you’re not alone. But it might surprise you to le A lively story of raising a child to enjoy real food in a processed world, and the importance of maintaining healthy food cultures   Why is it so easy to find su­gary cereals and dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets in a grocery store, but so hard to shop for nutritious, simple food for our children? If you’ve ever wondered this, you’re not alone. But it might surprise you to learn that this isn’t just an American problem.   Packaged snacks and junk foods are displacing natural, home-cooked meals throughout the world—even in Italy, a place we tend to associate with a healthy Mediterranean diet. Italian children traditionally sat at the table with the adults and ate everything from anchovies to artichokes. Parents passed a love of seasonal, regional foods down to their children, and this generational appreciation of good food turned Italy into the world culinary capital we’ve come to know today.   When Jeannie Marshall moved from Canada to Rome, she found the healthy food culture she expected. However, she was also amazed to find processed foods aggressively advertised and junk food on every corner. While determined to raise her son on a traditional Italian diet, Marshall sets out to discover how even a food tradition as entrenched as Italy’s can be greatly eroded or even lost in a single generation. She takes readers on a journey through the processed-food and marketing industries that are re-manufacturing our children’s diets, while also celebrating the pleasures of real food as she walks us through Roman street markets, gathering local ingredients from farmers and butchers.   At once an exploration of the US food industry’s global reach and a story of finding the best way to feed her child, The Lost Art of Feeding Kids examines not only the role that big food companies play in forming children’s tastes, and the impact that has on their health, but also how parents and communities can push back to create a culture that puts our kids’ health and happiness ahead of the interests of the food industry.

30 review for The Lost Art of Feeding Kids: What Italy Taught Me about Why Children Need Real Food

  1. 5 out of 5

    Monika

    Originally posted on my blog, A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall: Not much of the information in The Lost Art of Feeding Kids is all that surprising or new. I think we all know by now that "real food" is better for us. Most of us realize that we are heavily marketed to, and sometimes outright lied to. I was shocked, however, by how sinister some of the marketing directed at children could be. (The Girls Intelligence Agency completely creeps me out!) Though the synopsis says the book is an exploration Originally posted on my blog, A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall: Not much of the information in The Lost Art of Feeding Kids is all that surprising or new. I think we all know by now that "real food" is better for us. Most of us realize that we are heavily marketed to, and sometimes outright lied to. I was shocked, however, by how sinister some of the marketing directed at children could be. (The Girls Intelligence Agency completely creeps me out!) Though the synopsis says the book is an exploration of the United States food industry's global reach, I actually felt Marshall took a more generous (and fair?) approach by including Canada. She regularly referred to the influence as being "North American," rather than putting all of the blame on the U.S. My favorite parts of the book are Marshall's anecdotes about Italian food culture. I knew when I started reading that Italian food culture has changed since I lived there in the 80's. I noticed it when I visited Italy in 2000. And though things have changed, I didn't get the feeling that the food culture has changed so much that they can't find a way to return to it. For the most part, I felt the fixes suggested were utopian ideas the majority of her readers can't do much about. I gleaned some great ideas for simple dinners and healthy snacks, but I was hoping for many more practical ideas like that. Things everyday families could do, changes anyone can incorporate into their daily lives. I'd love to see Marshall write a kid-friendly cookbook based on the way she and her family eats; those spots in her book were absolute gems. I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Naomi

    Readers of the literature on contemporary food politics will be familiar with much of what Jeannie Marshall shares, but what makes this book a wonderful and refreshing read is what else she shares: her life navigating an old food culture and an emerging one, as a Canadienne française living in Rome. She describes food and simple cooking beautifully, and shares her passion for eating, cooking, and raising children who love good food. Reading, I wanted to put down the book many times and head for Readers of the literature on contemporary food politics will be familiar with much of what Jeannie Marshall shares, but what makes this book a wonderful and refreshing read is what else she shares: her life navigating an old food culture and an emerging one, as a Canadienne française living in Rome. She describes food and simple cooking beautifully, and shares her passion for eating, cooking, and raising children who love good food. Reading, I wanted to put down the book many times and head for the kitchen, to prepare delicious food originating up the road at the farm where I work. It is still winter here, but carrot soup and baked apples with maple syrup nourish body and spirit, so there are possibilities even if all of us do not live in a Roman climate. Recommended for congregational ethical eating programs, and those seeking to cultivate better school lunch programs in their communities, food lovers and those who want to demystify good food and gather their courage to learn the basic skills of cooking well with local food.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sarika

    This was an excellent book! So much more than the mom/parenting book I was expecting. Really explores the state of the rapidly changing food cultures all over Europe - particularly Italy- but really was in line with what I noticed in France this summer. Well written, fascinating - totally recommend!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mary Louise Sanchez

    Jeannie Marshall, from Canada, moved to Rome in 2002. She soon became seduced by the culture of food and eating in Italy. When her son was born three years later she fed him vegetables as if it were her duty to give him his dose of medicine but Italian mothers were feeding their babies real foods to develop their tastes. The author realized this was the Italian way of passing on their culture. Sadly, the Italians and others are starting to embrace the prepackaged foods of North America because Jeannie Marshall, from Canada, moved to Rome in 2002. She soon became seduced by the culture of food and eating in Italy. When her son was born three years later she fed him vegetables as if it were her duty to give him his dose of medicine but Italian mothers were feeding their babies real foods to develop their tastes. The author realized this was the Italian way of passing on their culture. Sadly, the Italians and others are starting to embrace the prepackaged foods of North America because of advertising and globalization. Thankfully,younger people like Jamie Oliver, Rachel Ray,and even Michelle Obama are making an impact and encouraging people to go back to real foods for the health of our nation. Although there are no recipes in the book, the simple dishes Ms. Marshall describes can easily be prepared.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Haley

    I don't want to sound melodramatic, but I honestly think that Jeannie Marshall's book has changed my entire perspective on food and nutrition. The Lost Art of Feeding Kids: What Italy Taught Me about Why Children Need Real Food stands as proof that people can transform their angry passions into persuasive convictions by writing a book. I won this book through Goodreads First Reads. I don't want to sound melodramatic, but I honestly think that Jeannie Marshall's book has changed my entire perspective on food and nutrition. The Lost Art of Feeding Kids: What Italy Taught Me about Why Children Need Real Food stands as proof that people can transform their angry passions into persuasive convictions by writing a book. I won this book through Goodreads First Reads.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    Some redundancy of information but a worthwhile albeit at times a depressing read (soda in baby bottles - ugh!). Would have been great if the author included recipes for the dishes she mentioned, they sounded so delicious!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)

    Nothing particularly new or groundbreaking about this book, but it is good inspiration for parents to feed their children real food rather than processed crap. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Gray

    The first two-thirds of this book were amazing! I loved it as a memoir type story. The last part was kind of agonizing to read. So much info I’ve read in countless other places about how bad Nestle and Pepsi corporations have gotten... overall loved it but wish the end was a little stronger.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sam Dye

    This is a delightful book with the fresh perspective that living in a foreign country gives to one's experience. She also documents the changes that have happened in Italy as a results of the increasing influence of big corporate processed foods producers. Her experience of going to a delightful beach area not far from Rome and then later going back with her son and husband is poignant. Her first trip was a great italian restaurant with real food cooked with fresh ingredients and the next trip w This is a delightful book with the fresh perspective that living in a foreign country gives to one's experience. She also documents the changes that have happened in Italy as a results of the increasing influence of big corporate processed foods producers. Her experience of going to a delightful beach area not far from Rome and then later going back with her son and husband is poignant. Her first trip was a great italian restaurant with real food cooked with fresh ingredients and the next trip was horrible processed (Nestle) food and sweets that spoiled the whole experience she was looking forward to sharing with her son. She (a Canadian) brings a lot of insight into the effect of advertising on small children. Her 3 yo son was demanding to have things he had seen on TV and then after they moved and decided to just use videos for his entertainment and not install the TV feed he changed. He was more settled and she comments that later walking by a McDonalds elicited no response at all. It was just another restaurant. She clearly outlines the evils of the multinational corporations and even goes into the absurdity of "corporate personhood". An example of anything goes if they are being loyal to their shareholders is the ConAgra Foods salmonella episode. They "had found salmonella in its processing plant in Georgia in 2004, but they didn't make an announcement and did not recall the peanut butter. The FDA made an inquiry, but didn't pursue the issue aggressively. Con Agra didn't alert its customers to the potential danger. Three years later, after hundreds of people had become sick from salmonella in the peanut butter, the FDA finally demanded that the company turn over its records." p131 "The activist nutritionist Marion Nestle told the New Yorker magazine that the only way PepsiCo could contribute toward better nutrition would be if it went out of business." p 133 So there is a lot in this book that I'm glad I found on the Denver Main Library new books display!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Full review is on my blog: https://mackenziesmountain.com/2016/0... Marshall doesn’t come across as patronizing or elitist – something food writers and bloggers are often charged with. She doesn’t lecture you but instead inspires you to want something more for your family, and your community. She stresses the importance of societal norms in creating a food culture and its significance to overall health. Having not grown up in a strong food culture the likes of which is common in Italy, the entire Full review is on my blog: https://mackenziesmountain.com/2016/0... Marshall doesn’t come across as patronizing or elitist – something food writers and bloggers are often charged with. She doesn’t lecture you but instead inspires you to want something more for your family, and your community. She stresses the importance of societal norms in creating a food culture and its significance to overall health. Having not grown up in a strong food culture the likes of which is common in Italy, the entire idea behind it was somewhat foreign to me but I love the idea and it is something that I desperately want to implement with my own family. I want my kids to grow up helping in the kitchen because through this they will develop cooking skills (from shopping and storage to preparing meals) as well as social skills, budgetary management skills, and will (hopefully!) associate good wholesome food with a fond, nostalgia for family and home that will carry the habit of healthy eating through the temptations of salty, fatty, sugary foods in adulthood. The book begins with a short history of her childhood (which is to frame her experiences as an adult and make it easier for North Americans to relate to her) and how she and husband James arrived in Rome. The chunk of the book however follows her struggles as a mother to wade through all the BS and implement the healthiest choices for her son, from the introduction of first foods, to temper tantrums post-swimming lessons because little Nico wants a sugary treat from the vending machine … experiences any mother can relate to, regardless of where she lives...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    **I received a review copy of this book from Goodreads giveaways** Overall, an excellent discussion of the current state of the food culture of the industrialized world. Marshall does a thorough job of exploring the damage caused by processed food products displacing the things people have been eating for millennia, and provides several suggestions on how to reverse it. I share her enthusiasm for educational projects designed to encourage greater "food literacy" in the general public, but she and **I received a review copy of this book from Goodreads giveaways** Overall, an excellent discussion of the current state of the food culture of the industrialized world. Marshall does a thorough job of exploring the damage caused by processed food products displacing the things people have been eating for millennia, and provides several suggestions on how to reverse it. I share her enthusiasm for educational projects designed to encourage greater "food literacy" in the general public, but she and I diverge, I think, when it comes to how big a role government intervention should play. While Marshall does not directly advocate specific government programs or strategies, she waxes positive about individuals and ideas that would draw heavily on government regulation to fix the broken food system. I look at these schemes and see the good intentions of their proponents, but also the potential for unintended consequences. Indeed Marshall herself touches on several instances in which public policy helped create the current situation: one generation solution becomes another generation's problem.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    If you read 'French Children will Eat Anything' you've pretty much covered the ground laid out here. She's in Italy instead of France, but they're very similar books. I found Marshall to be kind of preachy; also, she's Canadian and as an American it was a little tough for me to relate to some of her comparisons. It's not that I disagree with her (generally, I don't), but I didn't think that she laid out solutions to all the problems she brings up. Feeding kids regular food, staying away from pro If you read 'French Children will Eat Anything' you've pretty much covered the ground laid out here. She's in Italy instead of France, but they're very similar books. I found Marshall to be kind of preachy; also, she's Canadian and as an American it was a little tough for me to relate to some of her comparisons. It's not that I disagree with her (generally, I don't), but I didn't think that she laid out solutions to all the problems she brings up. Feeding kids regular food, staying away from processed food. . .all that makes sense. I liked 'French Children' better because the author was less preachy and I found the book easier to relate to. Instead of showing us how babies and children absorb culture, Marshall hits us over the head by telling us. . .several times. There isn't anything wrong with this book, but you only need to read one of the two and this is the weaker of the two. She also should have included some recipes.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    I was expecting a more first person account of her experiences with her family. There was some of that, but there was also some talk about global attitudes and did policy. None of it was very in depth, and very few of the things she brought up were fully fleshed out. My biggest problem with this book was the chapter where she talked about weight gain, and all it's ills, saying that weight gain causes illnesses in people, where actually weight gain is sometimes and symptom of whatever it is that i I was expecting a more first person account of her experiences with her family. There was some of that, but there was also some talk about global attitudes and did policy. None of it was very in depth, and very few of the things she brought up were fully fleshed out. My biggest problem with this book was the chapter where she talked about weight gain, and all it's ills, saying that weight gain causes illnesses in people, where actually weight gain is sometimes and symptom of whatever it is that is making you sick, and also sometimes just how bodies are. Being fat isn't bad for you, it just is.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nada

    This book - part research and part memoir - is based on Jeannie Marshall's experiences of moving from North America to Italy and the food of both cultures. The research presented reinforces the need to change our approach to food and the food industry. The personal anecdotes are interesting and add a lighter touch to the book. A really interesting book for anyone interested in food and the global industry that surrounds it. Read my complete review at: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2014... *** R This book - part research and part memoir - is based on Jeannie Marshall's experiences of moving from North America to Italy and the food of both cultures. The research presented reinforces the need to change our approach to food and the food industry. The personal anecdotes are interesting and add a lighter touch to the book. A really interesting book for anyone interested in food and the global industry that surrounds it. Read my complete review at: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2014... *** Reviewed for GoodReads First Reads program ***

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I'd give this book 4.5 stars for its message, 3 stars for the execution. It starts out super strong, with descriptions of visiting local produce markets in Rome and cooking from scratch. It also discusses the benefits of eating traditional food (from anywhere) and therefore partaking of ancient cultural wisdom. However, the middle gets pretty bogged down with food politics and policies. And it's hard to believe that all that pasta and bread is good for anyone... I'd give this book 4.5 stars for its message, 3 stars for the execution. It starts out super strong, with descriptions of visiting local produce markets in Rome and cooking from scratch. It also discusses the benefits of eating traditional food (from anywhere) and therefore partaking of ancient cultural wisdom. However, the middle gets pretty bogged down with food politics and policies. And it's hard to believe that all that pasta and bread is good for anyone...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Very thought provoking book about how we feed our kids and how our tastes are developed from pre-birth through childhood. I know now why my daughter loves asparagus and spinach - they were available almost free when I was expecting and nursing the child. Jeannie's stories are great and I almost can see myself at the markets in Italy. Would have given 5 stars if it had pictures and more hope for the future. Very thought provoking book about how we feed our kids and how our tastes are developed from pre-birth through childhood. I know now why my daughter loves asparagus and spinach - they were available almost free when I was expecting and nursing the child. Jeannie's stories are great and I almost can see myself at the markets in Italy. Would have given 5 stars if it had pictures and more hope for the future.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    An eye opening read. Marshall advocates a return to wholesome, unprocessed food and home cooking to combat the health problems that plague our society and, increasingly, our world. I found her research into other cultures and their diets fascinating. She argues that the consequences of globalization are more than economic. The American fast food way of life is spreading across the globe and destroying our health and food culture.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ang

    Please. Oh the preachy. I'm not saying Marshall is wrong about anything she's saying. She's pretty much right on. But oh my god the tone. The hand-wringing. The moralizing. I. just. can't. with. this. Please. Oh the preachy. I'm not saying Marshall is wrong about anything she's saying. She's pretty much right on. But oh my god the tone. The hand-wringing. The moralizing. I. just. can't. with. this.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

    I loved this book! I loved the story interwoven with the food and I think it's important for us to eat better! This book encourages me and in some ways showed me how to do it without being preachy. It was great! I loved this book! I loved the story interwoven with the food and I think it's important for us to eat better! This book encourages me and in some ways showed me how to do it without being preachy. It was great!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Veronica

    I was very lucky to win a copy of this book from goodreads. I will post a review once I have received and read the book. I was not a fan of this book. It has a lot of 'no duh' moments. It just didn't click with me. I was very lucky to win a copy of this book from goodreads. I will post a review once I have received and read the book. I was not a fan of this book. It has a lot of 'no duh' moments. It just didn't click with me.

  21. 4 out of 5

    LK

    I could not read all the way through because it was so boring.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Melinda

    Nothing new, just another take on the problem American parents face when trying to feed kids food, real food. I'd like a book with answers, suggestions, to solve the problem just a bit. Nothing new, just another take on the problem American parents face when trying to feed kids food, real food. I'd like a book with answers, suggestions, to solve the problem just a bit.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Esther May

    I loved reading this book, it makes me think about food and how it fits into life. It was such a positive book. Great read!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    Eye opening to the changing of the world's food cultures. Will definitely carry the themes of this book with me forever. Eye opening to the changing of the world's food cultures. Will definitely carry the themes of this book with me forever.

  25. 5 out of 5

    CMGB

  26. 4 out of 5

    Christina

  27. 4 out of 5

    zara malik

  28. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Lewis

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mickey

  30. 4 out of 5

    amalia

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