The Lost Art of Feeding Kids by Jeannie Marshall

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review consideration.

Title: The Lost Art of Feeding Kids: What Italy Taught Me About Why Children Need Real Food
Author: Jeannie Marshall
Publisher: Beacon Press
Expected Release: January 14, 2014
Source: publisher via Edelweiss

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

A lively story of raising a child to enjoy real food in a processed world, and the importance of maintaining healthy food cultures.

In Italy, children traditionally sat at the table with the adults eating everything from anchovies to artichokes. Their appreciation of seasonal, regional foods influenced their food choices and this passing down of traditions turned Italy into a world culinary capital. But now, parents worldwide are facing the same problems as American families with the aggressive marketing of processed foods and the prevalence of junk food wherever children gather. While struggling to raise her child, Nico, on a natural, healthy, traditional Italian diet, Jeannie Marshall, a Canadian who lives in Rome, sets out to discover how such a time-tested food culture could change in such a short time. At once an exploration of the U.S. food industry’s global reach and a story of finding the best way to feed her child, The Lost Art of Feeding Kids will appeal to parents, food policy experts, and fans of great food writing alike.

Not much of the information in The Lost Art of Feeding Kids is all that surprising or new. I think we all know by now that “real food” is better for us. Most of us realize that we are heavily marketed to, and sometimes outright lied to. I was shocked, however, by how sinister some of the marketing directed at children could be. (The Girls Intelligence Agency completely creeps me out!)

Though the synopsis says the book is an exploration of the United States food industry’s global reach, I actually felt Marshall took a more generous (and fair?) approach by including Canada. She regularly referred to the influence as being “North American,” rather than putting all of the blame on the U.S.

My favorite parts of the book are Marshall’s anecdotes about Italian food culture. I knew when I started reading that Italian food culture has changed since I lived there in the 80’s. I noticed it when I visited Italy in 2000. And though things have changed, I didn’t get the feeling that the food culture has changed so much that they can’t find a way to return to it.

For the most part, I felt the fixes suggested were utopian ideas the majority of her readers can’t do much about. I gleaned some great ideas for simple dinners and healthy snacks, but I was hoping for many more practical ideas like that. Things everyday families could do, changes anyone can incorporate into their daily lives.

I’d love to see Marshall write a kid-friendly cookbook based on the way she and her family eats; those spots in her book were absolute gems.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.