A lively, cross-cultural look at the way packaged and fast foods are marketed to our kids--and a meditation on how our eating habits and our family lives are being changed in the process.
When Canadian journalist Jeannie Marshall moved to Rome with her husband, she delighted in Italy's famous culinary traditions. But when Marshall gave birth to a son, she began to see how that food culture was eroding, especially within young families. Like their North American counterparts, Italian children were eating sugary cereal in the morning and packaged, processed, salt- and fat-laden snacks later in the day. Busy Italian parents were rejecting local markets for supermercati, and introducing their toddlers to fast food restaurants only too happy to imprint their branding on the youngest of customers. So Marshall set on a quest to discover why something that we can only call "kid food" is proliferating around the world. How did we develop our seemingly insatiable desire for packaged foods that are virtually devoid of nutrition? How can even a mighty food culture like Italy's change in just a generation? And why, when we should and often do know better, do we persist in filling our children's lunch boxes, and young bodies, with ingredients that can scarcely even be considered food?
Through discussions with food crusaders such as Alice Waters, with chefs in Italy, nutritionists, fresh food vendors and parents from all over, and with big food companies such as PepsiCo and Nestle, Marshall gets behind the issues of our children's failing nutrition and serves up a simple recipe for a return to real food.
JEANNIE MARSHALL grew up in Toronto, and lived in New York, Berlin and Madrid before moving to Italy in 2002. She has reported on a wide range of issues in Europe for such media as the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, the National Post, National Post Business, enRoute, The Walrus, Quill & Quire, Canadian Living and Canadian House and Home and has worked as a freelance editor for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. As the features writer in the Life section of the National Post during the paper's first 5 years, Marshall became known for a distinctive and engaging style of storytelling. A National Magazine Award finalist, she and her husband and young son live in Rome.
“Engaging.... Admirably well-researched.... A well-timed eye-opener.”
—Chris Nuttall-Smith, The Globe and Mail
“I’m a newly minted Jeannie Marshall fan. [Outside the Box] didn’t disappoint.... Jeannie’s writing is a delight. Very easy to read, warm and engaging…. A wonderful read and one I’d recommend to everyone, and especially to families with young children.... Brilliant.”
“Outside the Box is about teaching kids how to appreciate real food but also about how globalization is changing the way the world eats. In this beautifully written book about what needs to be done to preserve food culture in Italy and elsewhere, Marshall makes the political personal as she explains how she is teaching her son to enjoy the pleasures of eating food prepared, cooked, and lovingly shared by friends and family.”
—Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, and author of What to Eat
“An illuminating personal account of a journey that we all need to take: from the product in a box back to real food. Jeannie Marshall shows that parents know better than corporations what’s good for kids, and how solving the nutrition and obesity crisis will nourish generations to come.”
—Theresa Albert, registered nutritionist and author of Ace Your Health: 52 Ways to Stack Your Deck