Thursday, March 19, 2015

Book Review for This is What you Just Put in your Mouth? by Patrick Di Justo

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“Don’t stick that in your mouth, you don’t know where it’s been.” - Mom.  

Di Justo and my mother would have gotten along just fine. In This is What you Put in your Mouth? he details the surprises inside everyday things either stuffed in our pie holes or slathered on our person.

The book is divided into two parts. The first deals with items eaten, drunk, or inhaled. From the book’s title one might get the idea the author wags a literary finger advising us to cast suspicious eyes at everything on the dinner plate. Not so. Di Justo’s background is a reporter for Wired magazine. He is simply driven by curiosity and tries to answer the question. What the heck is in this thing?

Each item selected has a clear explanation of the ingredients easily understandable by the layman. Most also include an interesting backstory on how or why the item was chosen. Di Justo is no snob. He admits to a love of A-1 Sauce and then includes an explanation of the ingredients with the help of chef, Alton Brown. As Di Justo states, “If you’re looking for shocking stories of the gigantic corporate conspiracy to poison America through its processed foods, you’re reading the wrong book.” His refreshing attitude is that these products are a part of the world “and you are better off knowing what is in them rather than not knowing.”

The second part of the book deals with everyday items that are not consumable. There are some surprising ingredients. Some I found charming...the cracking pop from color-flame artificial fire logs comes from birdseed. Some I found creepy...leave the Cover Girl LashBlast Luxe off if having a cranial MRI. According to Di Justo, the amount of dark metallic pigment can screw up the picture and be mistaken for a melanoma. Again, backstories produce interesting tidbits. For instance, Play Doh is opaque to x-rays. I don’t know why I find that amusing. More amusing was the author’s personal test with less than flattering results of Just for Men hair color.

I found the book to be a quick enjoyable read, lacking the preachy high-handedness of most books of this genre. Although, I must admit I’m relieved Di Justo didn’t write about Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies. I’d rather not know what’s in them. My head already understands they’re bad for me, but my heart isn’t ready to drop kick them off my personal food pyramid.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.

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