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See, Change: food investigations in film and books

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by Jessica Wong, CBCNews.ca

With a day-job reporting on the vast world of arts and entertainment, I'm lucky in that part of my work involves keeping tabs on upcoming projects, including movies heading our way.

A recent Toronto film festival missive highlighting documentaries included one entry that immediately piqued my interest: a U.S. movie called Food, Inc. that builds on the work of two journalist-authors, Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma).

Directed and produced by filmmaker Robert Kenner, Food, Inc. purports to shine a searing light into big business's effect on the North American diet. I'm thinking it will definitely find an audience at TIFF, with the city being so full of foodies.

In the past 10 years, books and films investigating the food industry have often sparked vigorous debate and, for some, life-altering decisions. I've had several people tell me they stopped eating from fast food outlets immediately after watching Super Size Me, for instance.

Personally, my candy and chocolate-buying habits changed completely after I read As It Happens host and CBC journalist Carol Off's Bitter Chocolate: Investigating the Dark Side of the World's Most Seductive Sweet.

Has a book, movie, blog or article ever had a major influence on your food choices?

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Comments

Victor wong

Ottawa

Well, I *will* admit that watching Ang Lee's *Eat Drink Man Woman* made me more open-minded about Chinese cuisine, while Juzo Itani's *Tampopo* gave me some appreciation of Japanese non-sushi cuisine.

Posted August 5, 2008 12:22 PM

rita johnson

Many years ago I saw Polanski's "Repulsion" when it first came out. About a week later I was eating a small meat pie from a deli, when all of a sudden an image from the movie -- of a skinned rabbit on a plate in the fridge -- came back to me, and I stopped eating in mid-bite. I didn't eat meat for another six months. It was a black and white movie but the images were carefully and effectively crafted.

Posted August 14, 2008 08:59 PM

Cym

Years ago I read Beyond Beef and that was enough to make me foreswear hamburgers. . . for about a year. Since then I saw the film Supersize me and more recently The World According to Monsanto, which was really quite chilling. I have been a vegetarian for about 3 years now, I made that change for environmental and animal-rights reasons.

Posted September 5, 2008 10:21 AM

Miss Mabel

I loved Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food. They've changed me in two ways: (1) Pollan confirmed my decision to cook more and use less processed ingredients, which also confirmed my decision to work less, live on less, and have more spare time (which I will need... to cook); (2) he shifted me from being anti-diet industry, to being semi-anti-nutrition industry.

I hope movies like Food Inc will encourage people to eat meat less often. Sigh.

Posted September 7, 2008 01:35 AM

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About the blog

From trends and culture to politics and nutrition, Food Bytes serves up tasty tidbits about food and the issues surrounding it that flavour our everyday lives.

About the writers

Amber Hildebrandt Amber Hildebrandt writes for CBCNews.ca in Toronto. Growing up on a farm in Manitoba, she acquired an insatiable appetite, but it was during a stint in Japan that she developed her discerning tastebuds and "foodie" ways.

Andrea Chiu Andrea Chiu is an associate producer at CBC Radio Digital. Though she loves to eat, cook and discuss food, don't ask her to bake. It never turns out well. She tweets as @TOfoodie on Twitter and organizes food and wine events in Toronto called FoodieMeet.

Tara Kimura Tara Kimura is the consumer life reporter for CBCNews.ca, covering a wide range of issues that range from rising food costs and the growing organic movement, to new trends in the marketplace.

Andree Lau Andree Lau is a CBC web reporter in Calgary. Her journalism career includes seven years as a CBC-TV reporter. Her own blog called "are you gonna eat that?" chronicles her eating adventures (including sampling snake and camel hoof tendon).

Jessica Wong Jessica Wong is a CBCNews.ca writer who loves to eat and cook, as well as discuss, read and watch programming about food, sometimes all at once.

Kevin Yarr Kevin Yarr, CBCNews.ca's writer in Prince Edward Island, wrote about food and beer for national and regional magazines before joining the CBC. He acquired a desire for new tastes on his first trip to Europe, and an appreciation of eating locally and in season when he finally settled down on P.E.I.

Elizabeth Bridge Elizabeth Bridge is a writer with the CBC Digital Archives in Toronto. She first ventured into the kitchen as a child to indulge a sweet tooth by baking cookies and making fudge. A student budget compelled her to be a vegetarian (for a while) and instilled in her an ongoing curiosity about food and cooking.

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