An award-winning essayist explores how our relationship to food reflects the ever-changing American identity. Few things in modern life have the power to shape our lives like food. It controls us as consumers, as social animals, as guilty creatures of appetite. Although we like to feel that our choices about eating are deliberate and rational, so many of our food decisions are dictated to us—by a culture that's more obsessed than ever with how we eat, by a food industry that tells us what we can and can't consume and by our own acknowledged food hang-ups. Through a mixture of sociology, history, recipe and memoir, this book deftly pieces together the many contradictory impulses that create the modern American appetite.