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Real Food, Fake Food Book Review

Do you like to enjoy the food you eat ? How about spending money on food?

If you answered yes to both questions, you’re just like me! Hi 5! 

Food is what I’m always looking for when traveling. At home, I’m always looking for new recipes and dishes to try. I really enjoy it.

Though not everyone may feel that way, food is something that we all need, so why not be informed about it?

I ask because I, myself wasn’t as informed as I thought I was.

I was surprised to learn what I thought I bought or ate wasn’t in fact what I believed it to be. You may be too!


Throughout the book, Larry goes in depth on what makes food authentic, healthy and real.

One of those aspects is terroir, which is a French term to describe the environment (soil, air, climate etc) in which a food is cultivated.

The terroir for Chardonnay grapes grown in France will be different from those grown in California for example. Thus, true French wines can only come from France because of the terroir. There are no substitutes. Anything else is just an imitation.

Ethylene gas and Carbon Monoxide

You may be surprised to hear about some of the tactics used to make food appear the way that it does at the supermarket.

For example, gassing red meat with carbon monoxide to make it appear bright red and fresh. The problem is, that you can even gas spoiled meat and it would still look bright red and fresh.

Same situation with tomatoes. They are gassed with ethylene to make them turn red.

I remember learning about ethylene gas in college during one of my science classes, but never truly understood the application and ramifications of it until now.

After gassing a green tomato, 24 hours later it will appear red. However, it will not have ripened as a true red tomato would have on the vine. That’s why some tomatoes just don’t taste good even though they are red!


Did you know the production of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is regulated by Italian law? I didn’t.

This includes the raw ingredients, process, and location of production. Only a few provinces in Italy can produce it. After production, each wheel is stamped and tracked with a lot # on the outside of the wheel. And, there are inspectors in Italy that ensure this cheese is made correctly and held to certain standards. I never knew how regulated the whole process was until hearing about it in this book.

I did read last year in an article, though, that the canned stuff is mixed with ‘sawdust’ to keep it from caking. (Note: it’s cellulose, not actual sawdust). So, after learning about that, I just stopped buying it and got the real thing. Which carries the D.O.P. seal (Protected Designation of Origin). Costco sells cheeses with this seal.

But my whole life, I had thought Parmesan was Parmesan. And that’s just not the case.

I think this book has helped me to take everything with a grain of salt. Especially when it comes to food. I took a lot of things for granted.

I was naive in expecting things to be what they say they are. On the menus of restaurants, on food packaging and labels etc. But it’s really not the case.

There isn’t enough oversight in the food industry to ensure that fraud doesn’t occur. Saying the FDA is providing oversight is a joke. If anything, it seems the government has taken a wait and react approach. Part of it may have to do with funding too, to give them the benefit of the doubt.

I don’t want to spoil the rest of the book, but he also goes in depth on balsamic vinegar, olive oil, meat, wine, fish and other topics of great importance.

I liked this book because it was informative and actionable. The information provided empowers you as the consumer to make informed choices about what to eat and what to buy when it comes to food.

If you can gain some insight into the food industry as I did. It was an eye-opener. That is for sure.


Want to know what else I’ve been reading? Here is a link to some of my other book reviews!


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6 thoughts on “Real Food, Fake Food Book Review”

  1. Sounds like a great book / I knew about olive oil and some foods – and even heard milk is “off” in some places….
    And people with allergies are told to eat more food from a local terroir and it is supposed to help their body.
    Sounds like a good book

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