An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies

An Economist Gets Lunch New Rules for Everyday Foodies None

  • Title: An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies
  • Author: Tyler Cowen
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 409
  • Format: Hardcover
  • An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies

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      Published :2020-04-10T12:48:21+00:00

    One thought on “An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies

    1. Cat

      Scattershot observations about food, contemporary culture, politics, and price vaguely yoked together by the author's training in economics. Economics speak does not make the banal insights that hole-in-the-wall restaurants in strip malls can be amazing or that milky sugary drinks in Starbucks are overpriced more exciting, and Cox's conviction that lax consumers are to blame for the broken U.S. food system and for the obesity epidemic is simplistic at best, pernicious at worst (as in the aside w [...]

    2. David

      This is a fun book that is everything about food and its enjoyment. It covers agriculture, restaurants, gourmet culture, food vendors, airplane food, airport food, ethnic food, and finding good food in other countries. Much of what Tyler Cowen writes is different from commonly held ideas. For example, locally-grown food can be better quality, because it can get from the farm to your kitchen faster than non-local food. But local food is not necessarily better for the environment. Cowen describes [...]

    3. DeAnna Knippling

      Bleah.I had such high hopes for this. Food! and Economics! Yay!But it was illogical, poorly edited, and a general waste of time. The book splits into two general areas: tips on how to deal with food from a personal basis (like - if you want good Chinese food, go to the kind of place where large tables of Chinese people are arguing, which indicates that people who know the food are truly regulars and feel at home there), and why those damned liberal foodies are stupid.There's a chapter on how Mon [...]

    4. Joe

      Consider this book the highlights of a unique food blog, where an economist living in the suburb puts a great deal of thought into what he eats, where he eats it, and why. The best parts of this book read like smart New York Magazine pieces. For instance, Cowen only shops at an Asian grocery store for an entire month in one fascinating chapter; in another, he expertly runs through the various regions of the world with quick-fire eating advice that both informs and entices. For instance, he expla [...]

    5. Zach

      I really enjoyed this book. It is breezy, informative, and occasionally provocative. Roughly 70% of the book is devoted to stories about his food travels, discussion of different cuisines, and advice to the reader. Everyone should enjoy this material.More controversial will be the handful of chapters dedicated to (partially) defending modern agribusiness and debunking some of the conventional wisdom that self-described foodies have collectively internalized about the virtues of locally-grown foo [...]

    6. Dan

      What I like about pop-culture economics books is how they look between the lines at trends, studies, statistics, etc, and unpack them in an interesting and accessible way. This book struck me as more anecdotal without any real evidence to back up its claims. For example, going to one ethnic grocery store for a month is drawn into an entire painful chapter of conclusions and commentary. Without a doubt, the author loves food and getting off the beaten path to find quality eats that may not always [...]

    7. Ensiform

      The author, a professor of economics, writes about everything food-related, from “how American food got bad” (answer: Prohibition, watered-down immigrant food, the modern mania for catering to kids’ tastes) to eating great barbecue, from the delusion of the locavore movement to how to shop astutely at small groceries, from tips on finding a great restaurant (answer: find a hole in the wall with low overhead and loyal customers) to why Mexican food tastes better in Mexico (answer: America [...]

    8. Jennifer

      If you want advice on how to find a good meal while globetrotting, this would be the book to read- for example, if you are in India, your best shot at getting a good meal is at a hotel. Go to Sicily for great food. Swiss food is good and expensive, except for the bland cream sauces. He also has advice for finding a good meal while you are in the States: "eat at a Thai restaurant attached to a motel". A Thai family probably owns the motel, and someone in the family is a good cook. They're not pay [...]

    9. Alvaro Berrios

      This is an interesting book. Certainly not amazing, but interesting. Pros:It offers you tips on how and where to find good, authentic cuisine. Using principles of human behavior and economics (e.g. supply and demand), you'll find that lots of the best places to eat share very similar characteristics. You learn a ton about different types of foods such as Chinese, Thai, Mexican and American BBQ. Moreover, you also learn why foods taste differently from one country to the next even when you're usi [...]

    10. Richard

      A very quick read and fairly light on content (most of the good stuff was already in articles written about the book), but the author's background as an economist and conservative made his take on things different in interesting ways from most foodie books. I don't buy his arguments downplaying the importance of local foods (much less his defense of agri-business), but his approaches to different cuisines were thought-provoking, and he makes excellent points about the negative effects of Prohibi [...]

    11. Margaret Sankey

      Cowen confirms many of my own theories on finding good food--go to places with cheap rents, a clientele of the ethnicity the food claims to come from, uses locally-sourced appropriate food to do it (i.e. Coq a Vin requires an old stringy chicken) and has a grandma in the back screaming at the sullen teenagers forced to work there. His tip for foreign eating is also a favorite of mine--enlist an older cab driver and ask him to eat with you, a move that has guaranteed me some of the best weird lit [...]

    12. Richelle

      Wasn't as practical as I thought it would be. A bit rambling, but the audiobook at x1.5 helped. Some good advice on enjoying good food abroad. Less on how to maximize your dollar but still get the best food with the least harmful effect on the environment.

    13. Sanford Chee

      Fun read for foodies but too superficial. Redundant in the age of Yelp & TripAdvisor.Excepts highlights:"Every meal really matters to me."A bad or mediocre meal is more than just an unpleasant taste, it is an unnecessary negation of life’s pleasures. It is a wasted chance to refine our tastes, learn about the world, and share a rewarding experience.When donkey carts are common and women carry baskets on their heads, eat your fish right by the ocean or lake. Their on-site owners and chef [...]

    14. Marie

      I liked this, which is not too surprising - I'm into eating good food and I'm interested in behavioral economics. Some highlights:* One of Cowen's main messages is this: deregulate food (for example, drop stringent restrictions on food trucks and revoke the ban on importing unpasteurized cheese) and we'll get access to better food. (I support this SO MUCH. Basic safety is one thing, "saving" us from the horrors of unpasteurized dairy is quite another.)* The best and most expensive seafood restau [...]

    15. Kelsey

      Okay, so I was really excited about this book-- three hundred pages on the economics of food? I mean, come on, how much better can it get? (Well for me anyway) Unfortunately, this book is not a look at the food industry in the vein of Freakonomics, but is rather the scattered musings of an economist on whatever takes his fancy regarding food. Cowen jumps from the evils of junk food to the positives of GMOs to the best types of Asian cuisine to the different styles of BBQ in the South you get the [...]

    16. Rachel

      I…really struggled with this book. I read Discover Your Inner Economist by the same author when it came out, and I don’t recall struggling with that, so perhaps it was not the writing so much as the topic of An Economist Gets Lunch that I had a hard time with.The book just seemed so scattershot. It jumps from a chapter on barbecue to a chapter on Chinese food to one on corn production to global warming to a chapter on Mexican food and then a world tour of the best places to eat in Asian and [...]

    17. Sara

      Economists have been writing on any number of topics lately -- having more children, saving the planet, and now, having lunch. In this book, Cowen addresses what he argues are the fallacies of modern "food snobbery," -- the ideas that the best food is expensive, cheap food is bad, and consumers are a poor source of innovation (8). He tests this hypothesis by partaking of local food overseas, shopping in ethnic markets, breaking down the costs of an expensive restaurant, and discussing the child- [...]

    18. Doug

      I was a little disappointed - and disappointed to be disappointed if you know what I mean. I am a fan of Tyler Cowen and a regular reader of his blog, Marginal Revolution. I find him to be brilliant and iconoclastic. I expected this book to be the same. Instead, I am sorry to say, I found it tedious. Many of his so-called insights - expensive restaurants aren't such a good deal, you can eat great food cheaply off the beaten track, US agricultural techniques produce less tasty food than small, lo [...]

    19. Jessica

      I love the idea of this book, so I persisted with it much longer than I ought to have, but I just could not finish it. I should admit there are interesting nuggets in here, if you're patient. For example, I loved hearing about the author's experience shopping exclusively at a Chinese-American grocery for a month: turns out supermarket design does nudge people toward certain choices (in this case, more greens). However, so many parts of this book were so offensive and/or false that I ended up con [...]

    20. David R.

      This book really only ended up reminding me why I don't prefer the company of "foodies" (at meal time at least). Cowen lives the high life and attempts to give an economic rule-based gloss to his culinary pleasures. But the consequent diatribe is off-putting. What do you think of a guy who thinks it is an environmental crime to compost food scraps but has no problem riding an ancient, polluting taxi two hours in Bolivia just to buy lunch? Or one who sneers at American produce and raves about Mex [...]

    21. Hope

      I really really enjoyed this book.Chapter 3 on Barbecue will make sense to anyone from Texas. I am admittedly not a "foodie," but I think this book will give those with such inclinations some food for thought.

    22. Kyle Deas

      Thought-provoking and entertaining. Cowen is a weak stylist and there will be many things in this book with which you disagree. But I have also found myself thinking back on it more times than any other nonfiction book I can remember.

    23. Jeff

      The world is perhaps weary of popular econ, but this book by my favorite economist does a great job of how economics can help us understand and better enjoy the food system. If you read nothing else, skip to Chapter 8 and read about how using prices helps us make rational green choices.

    24. Taffnerd

      Not bad but not very good either. It was surprisingly light on the economics and full of restaurant reviews for places I'll probably never eat.

    25. Kelly

      Cowen thinks anything American is pretty crummy. While I thought some of his insights were interesting, for the most part, I found this to be self-indulgent and snobby.

    26. Leonardo Etcheto

      Kind of a strange hybrid of travel guide, food guide and economic lesson but it works. I enjoyed his guidelines and his explanations. To get his basic point across, the book could have been just 1/3 of the length. The rest is fleshing out with mire story and examples which was okay.Two main items that I had not known previously which I found fascinating: how prohibition hampered American cuisine by killing all the fine restaurants (no wine) and the depth of dysfunction of Indian agriculture. I f [...]

    27. Unwisely

      When I grabbed this, I only knew the name Tyler Cowen was familiar, I didn't actually remember why I knew the name. The book is kind of a hodgepodge of stuff, only loosely connected by food.The book starts out well enough - there's an interesting discussion of the economics of running a restaurant in several places and he gives a convincing argument for finding good food in large American cities (head to the suburbs, also, go for cuisine with good sauces, because American supply chains are good [...]

    28. Gwen

      Oh, Tyler CowenI should have expected so many of your statements and ideas, but I didn't: I thought, stupidly, that a book about food would somehow bypass the troublesome issues I have with your politics and just be about FOOD and a smattering of food-related economics.I was wrong.When Cowen just talks about FOOD--how to find good food, why and where good food exists, and the structural economic policies that make good food happen--he's brilliant. I love his Ethnic Dining Guide blog to the DC ar [...]

    29. Maria

      This book seems a whole lot like someone read this guy's blog and said, 'You should write a book' and then he did. This is disjointed and comes across as incredibly snobbish. Look, I love good food. But I'm not going to talk to you about strip mall food for page after page after page. And I'm definitely not going to spend pages and pages talking about barbecue innovations. Ultimately, the content was (mostly) interesting (though I skipped a LOT of Europe because I was so sick of the random recom [...]

    30. Athena

      It was an interesting read, quite fun at times but perhaps of the time it has been published I think some examples don't apply so much anymore. Being quite a picky eater and having travelled around the world to sample many cuisines myself, I disagree with Cowen in quite a few rules. Nonetheless, there are still some interesting suggestions he gave. This book feels like reading someone's travel/food journal so if you have the time and are curious enough, it would still be worth a read.

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