Twinkie, Deconstructed

  • by Steve Ettlinger
  • Narrated by Mark Lund
  • 5 hrs and 53 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Like most Americans, Steve Ettlinger eats processed foods. And, like most consumers, he often reads the ingredients label without a clue as to what most of it means. So when his young daughter asked, "Daddy, what's polysorbate 60?" he was at a loss and determined to find out. In this fascinating exploration into the curious world of packaged foods, Twinkie, Deconstructed takes us from the phosphate mines in Idaho to the corn fields in Iowa, from gypsum mines in Oklahoma to oil fields in China, to demystify some of America's most common processed food ingredients: where they come from, how they are made, how they are used, and why. Beginning at the source, we follow each Twinkie ingredient through the process of being crushed, baked, fermented, refined, and/or reacted into a totally unrecognizable goo or powder with a strange name - all for the sake of creating a simple snack cake. If you've ever wondered what you're eating when you consume foods containing mono- and diglycerides or calcium sulfate (the latter is a food-grade equivalent of plaster of paris), this book is for you.

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What the Critics Say

"[A] delightful romp through the food processing industry." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Interesting, but not hyped

When I saw that this book only got one star, I was hesitant. I thougt it might be one of those books that just went on and on about how bad twinkies are.
I went to Amazon and read the reviews there and found out that most people found the book not only interesting but not overly preachy about processed foods.
I liked the books format, the narration and the content. I work in agriculture with both organic and non-organic farmers and found the book to be a rather fun romp through the food chain. Like it or not, it's an accurate and truthful romp.
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- Katherine

Now you know . . .

This interesting, well-written book provides answers to questions such as "Where does chlorine come from?", "What, exactly, is baking powder made of?", and "Why is it that the cakes I bake at home don't taste like Twinkies?" It has a clever structure--one short chapter for each ingredient listed on the Twinkie wrapper. I thought this book was fascinating, though at times overly detailed. It's true that the author does not seem to question, in fact at times he seems to support, the processed food industry. But at bottom, the book just explains what's in Twinkies without offering judgement one way or the other. It's not an overtly political book like "Fast Food Nation." If you eat convenience or packaged foods at all, even foods that are labeled "organic," you are probably eating many of the ingredients that are in Twinkies, and it is illuminating to find out exactly what they are and where they come from.
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- Marsha W. Maxwell

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-09-2007
  • Publisher: Listen & Live Audio, Inc.