Best Before

From canning peaches to 3D-printing pizzas, Nicola Temple's book asks how far is too far when it comes to processed foods.

Nicola Temple

Long before there was the ready meal, humans processed food to preserve it and make it safe. From fire to fermentation, our ancestors survived periods of famine by changing the very nature of their food. This ability to process food has undoubtedly made us one of the most successful species on the planet, but have we gone too far?

Through manipulating chemical reactions and organisms, scientists have unlocked all kinds of methods of to improve food longevity and increase supply, from apples that stay fresh for weeks to cheese that is matured over days rather than months. Even more obscure types of food processing, such as growing steaks in a test-tube and 3D printing pizzas, seems to have come straight from the pages of a science fiction novel. These developments are keeping up with the changing needs of the demanding consumer, but we only tend notice them when the latest headline hits the news.

Best Before puts processed food into perspective. It explores how processing methods have evolved in many of the foods that we love as a response to big business, consumer demand, health concerns, innovation, political will, waste and even war. Best Before arms readers with the information they need to be rational consumers, capable of making informed decisions about their food. (From Raincoast Books)

From the book

I grew up on a homestead in rural Ontario, Canada. Ten blissful acres on which to lose myself as a child. We had a few sheep, a couple of dozen chickens, a pig named Bessie, a dairy cow called Penny and so many raised garden beds that people driving by no doubt wondered whether our farm doubled as a graveyard. I even had a mallard duck named Slipper who had imprinted on me as a hatchling and followed me everywhere. We grew as much of our own food as we could. And it was here that I first learned about processing food.

From Best Before by Nicola Temple ©2018. Published by Raincoast Books.


Nicola Temple,one of the authors of Sorting the Beef From the Bull: The Science of Food Fraud Forensics. 8:44