1. From the introduction to Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser Fatness was hardly a new issue for me. My wife and my physician had been after me for some time to do something about my problem, the former quite gingerly, the latter not so. My doctor, in fact, had recently suggested that I consider a new weight loss medication. At the time, I had promptly brushed the idea aside. Now, the sting still fresh, I reconsidered: Why not? And so, for the next nine months, I put all of my extra energy into the task of shedding my excess avoirdupois. In modern America, this, I would find, was a rite in itself, replete with its own social institutions (health clubs), tonics (Meridia), taboos (Krispy Kreme), and aspirational totems (Levi’s 501 regular cuts). I was apparently ready for this rite, for, to my delight, I slowly but surely lost the weight. What followed was encouraging, if somewhat predictable: congratulations from friends for “sticking to it”; enhanced self-esteem; a new wardrobe; a newfound confidence and spring in my step; phone calls from J.Lo. and Julia. Yet the more I contemplated my success, the more I came to see it not as a triumph of will, but as a triumph of my economic and social class. The weight loss medication Meridia, for example, had been effective not because it is such a good drug; even its purveyors freely admit it is far from effective for most people. What had made the drug work for me was the upper-middle-class support system that I had brought to it: a good physician who insisted on seeing me every two weeks, access to a safe park where I would walk and jog, friends who shared the value of becoming slender, healthy home-cooked food consumed with my wife, books about health, and medical journals about the latest nutritional breakthroughs. And money. And time. 2. From the introduction to The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory by Carol J. Adams People with power have always eaten meat. The aristocracy of Europe consumed large courses filled with every kind of meat while the laborer consumed the complex carbohydrates. Dietary habits proclaim class distinctions, but they proclaim patriarchal distinctions as well. Women, second-class citizens, are more likely to eat what are considered to be second-class foods in a patriarchal culture: vegetables, fruits, and grains rather than meat. The sexism in meat eating recapitulates the class distinctions with an added twist: a mythology permeates all classes that meat is a masculine food and meat eating a male activity. 3. From the introduction to Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health by Marion Nestle In a competitive food marketplace, food companies must satisfy stockholders by encouraging more people to eat more of their products. They seek new audiences among children, among members of minority groups, or internationally. They expand sales to existing as well as new audiences through adversiting but also by developing new products designed to respond to consumer “demands.” In recent years, they have embraced a new strategy: increasing the sizes of food portions. Advertising, new products, and larger portions all contribute to a food environment that promotes eating more, not less.