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Slow Cooked: An Unexpected Life in Food Politics

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by Marion Nestle
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Marion Nestle's name has become ubiquitous in discussions of food politics over the last thirty or more years.

As a professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University, and former policy adviser to the US Department of Health and Human Services, she developed a reputation for clear-eyed, science-backed perspectives.

But in this memoir Nestle makes it clear that her path to national prominence was not predictable. There was nothing storybook about Nestle's upbringing, and an academic career was wholly outside the expectations of her family, her friends, and her high school counselors. Being admitted to Berkeley seemed a promising change, but within two years she was married and a college drop out.

There was much more to come as Nestle discovered her interest in science and public health, completing her education and repeatedly encountering opposition to the idea that a woman should study in these fields. "We gave you the fellowship because no men applied this year. If men apply next year, you may have to give it up," one advisor told her.

Again and again she forged ahead against such resistance, expanding her areas of expertise, and challenging institutions with which she worked to do better. Her efforts were not always a success, but she still managed to change the landscape.

Nestle's writing is straightforward and frank, fully in keeping with her public voice. And without any active cheerleading, it is also encouraging to those who wonder how they might similarly make a mark in the world of food.

Hardcover. Black-and-white photographs throughout.

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