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Food and Crime (Hardback)

Theft, Poisoning and Murder for Food

P&S History > Food & Drink P&S History > True Crime

By Chris Garcia
Imprint: Pen & Sword True Crime
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 32 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399063524
Published: 4th July 2023



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Anyone alive, and wanting to stay that way, must deal with food. Crime is, and always has been, present. Food and Crime examines the crossroads of these two universal forces, how hunger can lead to theft, fraud, and murder, and how the well-fed will sometimes do anything to keep their bellies full. From the one-timers to the career caper-planners, food criminals are a wide-ranging, often audacious bunch, and this is the record of their impact, great and small.

From a war fought by the Mayor of New York over tasty thistles, to the role McDonald's plays in the American culinary conscious, to how foreign food aid abuse led to a mighty fall in the financial sector, these sixteen stories of criminals who engage with the world of cuisine, cookery, or agriculture cover food and crime from the piddliest pilfering to the most diabolical murders. Covering the period from the Ancient Greeks (who invented insurance fraud) to the effects of COVID-19 on seafood crime in the true crime capital of America - Florida, here's clear evidence that there's never been a time when food and crime were not intimately entangled. Food and Crime sheds light on the unexpected, and sometimes unbelievable, connections between two things that we can never seem to get enough of.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

What a fabulously fun book this was!

So many fascinating tales to pique your interest.

I learned so much - and it was endlessly entertaining.

Very readable style and chock full of fun!

NetGalley, OutlawPoet .

This is a fascinating book full of stories about why people steal food. There are many different stories and each comes from a different perspective. Food is something we all require and there will always be a market for the goods. This was very well written.

NetGalley, Jodi Bennett

The author definitely has a way of writing that keeps you interested. There was so much that I didn’t know, or hadn’t thought of, before reading this book. I fell down many a rabbit hole researching the stories.

NetGalley, Joni Owens

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

From Day 1, we have always needed food for sustenance and since the beginning there has been crime. The compelling pairing comes together in Food and Crime by Chris Garcia who discusses food crimes of various sorts from Greek times to the present. Food crimes can be categorized by theft, fraud, coercion and assault. Romans likely used ground marble to add volume to wheat in bread. Greeks almost certainly had freeloaders in restaurants. Escoffier himself took kickbacks. In the modern day, we commit equally deceitful food crimes such as falsifying wine labels or hijacking shellfish. Cheese and maple syrup stealing is a serious problem from incidental theft or organized theft, employee theft and supplier theft. The rouses shoppers and employees think up can be ingenious, unfortunately. This book is a cornucopia of fascinating tidbits to chew on. Some stories are witty, others thought provoking and still others tragic.

Wow, the amount of information to mull over is amazing such as the CRAVED model, trucker scams, skimming off the tops of ships, Some tragic crimes are accidental such as the humbugs and molasses incidents. Food theft is even more rife and far-reaching than I thought. Technically, munching on a few grapes in the produce section is theft.

I appreciate that topics such as food taboos, discovering unpleasant additions to food dishes, assault (slavery, human trafficking, abuse amongst employees in restaurants) are mentioned, too. Cannibalism and murder are also discussed plus so much more. Hungry for more? Go ahead and devour Food and Crime.

NetGalley, Brenda Carleton

If you enjoyed 'Swindled' by Bee Wilson, you'll love 'Food and Crime' which focuses specifically on intentional food crime. This is a well-researched, easy-to-read book for anyone interested in food history. It'd make a great TV series.

NetGalley, Jennifer .

Books like this are either dry and academic, or they’re a lot of fun and you learn interesting things in a great way. This one is the latter.

This was a great read, full of crazy stories and factoids that I couldn’t stop telling people about...

Read it, love it, and be prepared to buy a bunch for Christmas gifts!!

NetGalley, Wendi Manning

When you think about food, crime isn't probably the first thing that comes to mind. But should it really be that surprising that there is a lot of crime associated with food? It's something we all need, something that not everyone can afford, and on the other side of that spectrum, a resource that can be exploited.

This book looks at four types of food-related crime: theft, fraud, murder, and organized crime. Each section has its own dedicated chapter with sub-chapters covering different famous stories or types of the particular crime. A lot of it was information I didn't know. Who would ever expect artichokes to be part of organized crime, or that cheese is the most stolen food item (ok, that one I kind of get, I love cheese).

The text is informative but relatable, and easy to read in a narrative sense. Which was great, as non-fiction historical subjects can get dry if not careful. I appreciated some of the novel stories in here, particularly the murder section, because I learned not only more about food itself, but also a history of mass shootings, which is highly relevant in our environment now sadly.

This is a good one to read if you like non-fiction food-related subjects!

NetGalley, M Reynard

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A fascinating book and probably one of the kinds that associate food and crime. It's a set of 16 stories from all over the world where food interacts with crimes such as theft, fraud, coercion , murder and cannibalism.
Higley recommended for readers of true crime books.

NetGalley, Meg Gajda

This is a very interesting read and one I liked as it involved food and how food leads to crime which really intrigued me. This is a book of real crime and the different stories within it are all very real and yet seem so unreal at times.

How does food, eating and crime all fit together and how on earth can you write a book about it. Well this is that book and it kept me wanting to read and learn more. Glad I did as it is something completely different than what I would normally read which made it all the more absorbing.

NetGalley, Donna Robinson

This is simply fascinating. The author brings to life a number of cases which have links to the culinary world and it is an amazing perspective that I never would have thought of before. Well written and researched, this is an out of the square true crime book which is a must read.

NetGalley, Louise Gray

This book was fascinating and the stories covered the historical gamut of how food leads to crime. And these are some darn interesting crimes. We all need food, which is why people with eating disorders struggle to quit more than those trying to quit smoking as no one needs a ciggie to survive! Well crafted and interesting to read, I will recommend it to my foodies, crime fanatics and others who are in search of a good read!

NetGalley, Poppy Marlowe

About Chris Garcia

Christopher J. Garcia is a podcaster, archivist, curator, editor and writer from Boulder Creek, California. He's a two-time Hugo Award winner for his work on The Drink Tank and Journey Planet. His podcast, Dial-a-Crime, is dedicated to telling non-violent true crime stories to fellow podcasters, writers, and even his children once in a while. His writing has appeared in other MagazineClarkesworldUncanny Magazine, and whatever.

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