Twinkie, Deconstructed: My Journey to Discover how the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods are Grown, Mined (yes, Mined), and Manipulated Into what America Eats

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Plume, 2008 - Health & Fitness - 282 pages
A pop-science journey into the surprising ingredients found in most common packaged foods

Like most Americans, Steve Ettlinger eats processed foods. And, like most consumers, he didn't have a clue as to what most of the ingredients on the labels mean. So when his young daughter asked, Daddy, what's polysorbate 60?, he was at a loss and determined to find out.

From the phosphate mines in Idaho to the oil fields in China to the Hostess factories and their practices, Twinkie, Deconstructed demystifies some of the most common processed food ingredients, where they come from, how they are made, how they are used, and why. Beginning at the source (hint: they're often more closely linked to rock and petroleum than any of the four food groups), we follow each Twinkie ingredient through the process of being crushed, baked, fermented, refined, and/or reacted into a totally unrecognizable goo or powder, all for the sake of creating a simple snack cake.

An insightful exploration of the modern food industry, if you've ever wondered what you're eating when you consume foods containing mono- and diglycerides or calcium sulfate (the latter a food-grade equivalent of plaster of paris), this book is for you. Consequently, as Hostess plans to permanently close its doors in 2012, this book will provide a relevant guide into the practices of one of the biggest companies of all time.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - wealhtheowwylfing - LibraryThing

Ettlinger takes us through each of the ingredients that make up a Twinkie, most of which are found in other packaged food as well. It is stupefyingly boring and utterly bloodless. (Only Ettlinger ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mstrust - LibraryThing

When his child asks him to decipher an ingredients list, Ettlinger realizes that he has no idea what those ingredients are and what they are doing in our food. It begins a journey around the country ... Read full review

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About the author (2008)

Since 1988 Steve Ettlinger has written eight books and has produced, edited, or agented over 40. Steve specializes in explaining very common but complicated subjects in an entertaining way. His most popular book is about artificial food ingredients (Twinkie, Deconstructed); he gives presentations around the country about his work on this book. His first book, The Complete Illustrated Guide to Everything Sold in Hardware Stores, has remained in print for over 26 years and is now an eBook. Steve has appeared on many morning network TV shows in the course of publishing his books.For more information, or to see past TV interviews, please visit Steve's website,

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