The strange, disquieting, and sometimes delicious story of humanity’s love affair with meat.
Meathooked is an investigation set to answer a question that has stayed unanswered far too long, while we kept arguing health and ethical aspects of meat consumption: Why do we eat meat at all? What’s so special about meat that it keeps us hooked? From the perspective of evolution, culture, taste, marketing, biochemistry and anthropology, Marta Zaraska sets out to identify all the hooks that make meat a food that humans don’t want to easily give up.
In Meathooked, Marta Zaraska explores what she calls the “meat paradox.” Scientific journals overflow with reports on the hazards producing and eating meat pose to the environment and our bodies—yet nothing has prompted us to give up our hamburgers and steaks. Why do we love meat so much that we’re happy to let it kill us?
Explaining one of the most enduring features of human civilization, Zaraska shows why meat-eating will continue to shape our bodies and our world into the foreseeable future.
“A well-researched, refreshingly optimistic look at a serious issue, free of ideological preconceptions” – Kirkus Reviews
“Meathooked is…a fascinating story of our growing global consumption of meat… Zaraska explores the impact of the meat industry’s subsidies, the developing world’s desire to emulate the behavior of the wealthier West, the advertising juggernaut selling both the sizzle and the steak, and often-ineffective vegetarian movements.”– Shelf Awareness
“Studies have shown that eating too much meat can lead to heart disease, among other conditions. But if that’s the case, why did humans evolve to be carnivorous in the first place? The answer, according to science journalist Marta Zaraska, is that we (kind of) didn’t; rather, we evolved because we ate meat.” – Sarah Begley, Time magazine
“Even the sincerest of vegetarians, troubled by the treatment of livestock or worried about potential health risks, may find meat eating a tough habit to shake. As a dietary staple, meat is ancient, yet its nutritional value is hardly the only thing driving its consumption. In her new book, Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession with Meat, Polish-Canadian journalist Marta Zaraska (a conflicted mostly-vegetarian) explains why many crave an 8 oz. steak or a bucket of fried chicken with a vehemence that doesn’t apply to, say, fresh kale.” – Matt Huston, Psychology Today
“Insightful…Like a master butcher expertly trimming gristle from a prime cut, Ms. Zaraska is…at her best when slicing away the many myths that surround meat.” – Rien Fertel, Wall Street Journal
“By exploring the juicy science behind [meat] obsession and steering clear of activist dogma, Zaraska delivers a read that will satisfy vegans and carnivores alike.” – Maddie Oatman, Mother Jones
“In Meathooked, Marta Zaraska takes on the task of unpicking why so many people – in the West, especially – seem to be addicted to meat. She finds that there is no easy answer: our taste for flesh is rooted in evolutionary history, dietary requirements, chemistry and taste, big business and the political power it wields, psychology and culture.” – New Scientist
“Meathooked is more a fascinating story of our growing global consumption of meat than a political diatribe…With science, history, anecdote and wit, science writer Marta Zaraska explores the causes and effects of the growing global appetite for meat.” – Shelf Awareness
“[A] smartly reasoned book”– Natural History
“Sometimes the secret is asking the right questions. By examining the positive and negative history of meat rather than vegetarianism Marta Zaraska leads us to a thoughtful and broad array of issues. Meathooked is a book people need to read.”– Mark Kurlansky, bestselling author of Salt and Cod
“Ancient Egyptian meat mummies? Vegansexuality? Yummy beef made out of carrots? Meathooked bursts with interest all the way from Pleistocene ecology to the politics of modern food production. But Meathooked is more than just a fast-paced tour of the quirks of human carnivory. It is also a well-researched plea for nutritional sanity and ecological common-sense. Marta Zaraska’s sparkling argument – Richard Wrangham, Ruth B. Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University and author of Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human
“We know producing and consuming it is terrible for us, the planet, and billions of farm animals, so what keeps people hooked on meat? Marta Zaraska’s fascinating Meathooked provides a lively, compelling look at the many reasons humans are addicted to animal protein. Whether you’re a vegan, a hardcore meat-lover, or somewhere in between, this book will help you better understand why you and your loved ones eat what you do.”– David Robinson Simon, Author of Meatonomics: How the Rigged Economics of Meat and Dairy Make You Consume Too Much – and How to Eat Better, Live Longer, and Spend Smarter
“From the role of meat in the evolution of the human brain to the last meals of death row inmates, from vegan sexuality to why we don’t eat carnivores, Meathooked is a beautifully written and scientifically sound exploration of the complicated relationship between humans and meat. Like The Omnivore’s Dilemma, vegetarians and meat eaters alike will find this book an engaging, provocative ride. And along the way, Marta Zaraska makes an utterly convincing case that our planet cannot survive our growing addiction to animal flesh.” – Hal Herzog, author of Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard To Think Straight About Animals.
“Thought-provoking and enjoyable, it’s a book you can really, ah, sink your teeth into.” – Discover
“[Meathooked] takes an informative look at the politics of meat, touching on how the treatment of animals has a huge effect on the taste and quality of their meat; exposing how the meat industry uses millions to advertise and lobby; and delving into why Americans do not eat dogs or horses…[The book] features an engaging narrative that is easy to digest.” – Booklist
“[Meathooked is] a fascinating combination of science writing, anthropology, and food history.”– Quill & Quire
“Meathooked is a fascinating, and often surprising, exploration of the human carnivore. At every step of the way, the story of meat eating is more interesting and more complicated than you’d expect. Zaraska provides convincing, and provocative, evidence that we eat meat today for reasons that few people would imagine. It has less to do with nutrition than with culture, marketing, taste and habit. This is a book that every meat eater should read.” – Christopher Leonard, Author of The Meat Racket and Fellow at the New America Foundation
Basic Books, North America, Spring 2016
Czarna Owca, Poland