Fresh: A Perishable History

Susanne Freidberg

Fresh: A Perishable History

That rosy tomato perched on your plate in December is at the end of a great journey - not just over land and sea, but across a vast and varied cultural history. This is the territory charted in Fresh. Opening the door of an ordinary refrigerator, it tells the curious story of the quality stored inside: freshness. We want fresh foods to keep us healthy, and to connect us to nature and community. We also want them convenient, pretty, and cheap. "Fresh" traces our paradoxical hunger to its roots in the rise of mass consumption, when freshness seemed both proof of and an antidote to progress. Susanne Freidberg begins with refrigeration, a trend as controversial at the turn of the twentieth century as genetically modified crops are today. Consumers blamed cold storage for high prices and rotten eggs but, ultimately, aggressive marketing, advances in technology, and new ideas about health and hygiene overcame this distrust. Freidberg then takes six common foods from the refrigerator to discover what each has to say about our notions of freshness. 3.5 out of 5 based on 2 reviews
Fresh: A Perishable History

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Food & Drink, Society, Politics & Philosophy
Format Hardback
Pages 416
RRP £20.95
Date of Publication April 2009
ISBN 978-0674032910
Publisher Harvard University Press
 

That rosy tomato perched on your plate in December is at the end of a great journey - not just over land and sea, but across a vast and varied cultural history. This is the territory charted in Fresh. Opening the door of an ordinary refrigerator, it tells the curious story of the quality stored inside: freshness. We want fresh foods to keep us healthy, and to connect us to nature and community. We also want them convenient, pretty, and cheap. "Fresh" traces our paradoxical hunger to its roots in the rise of mass consumption, when freshness seemed both proof of and an antidote to progress. Susanne Freidberg begins with refrigeration, a trend as controversial at the turn of the twentieth century as genetically modified crops are today. Consumers blamed cold storage for high prices and rotten eggs but, ultimately, aggressive marketing, advances in technology, and new ideas about health and hygiene overcame this distrust. Freidberg then takes six common foods from the refrigerator to discover what each has to say about our notions of freshness.

Reviews

The Guardian

Felicity Lawrence

Fresh' paints a fascinating picture of our changing views of perishable food... it draws on a wonderful range of sources... Freidberg writes elegantly and goes beyond the technical to draw out this paradox at the heart of today's culture of consumption: we have ended up with a food system that promotes both novelty and nostalgia, obsolescence and shelf life, indulgence and discipline.

02/05/2009

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Times Literary Supplement

Jon Garvie

She flits between areas and times... In order to link these peregrinations, she requires a unifying narrative, which implies a single historical trajectory, a “cold chain” from the first meatpacker to the modern supermarket. But Freidberg is unclear on whether the industrial societies and markets which emerged were inevitable products of technological advance, or if other visions might have triumphed. In a book so concerned with different accounts of the “good life” and the benefits or otherwise of modernity, these are unfortunate omissions... [An] enlightening but frustrating account

15/04/2009

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