The Dorito Effect by Mark Schatzker

Despite my somewhat slender frame, I am not a healthy eater. I eat what tastes good. I am not sure what I am eating most of the time. When I was a kid I lived off of chicken nuggets and hot dogs. Today I live off chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and tacos. My wife pushes me to eat a salad before dinner, and I usually oblige by choking down bitter greens and tasteless ingredients. I definitely drink too much soda, but city water is nasty or bland, juices are no better with more sugar and calories, and alcohol is not an alternative. I am a picky eater but I don’t really watch what I eat.

Nonetheless, I find the history of food to be very history. I heard about The Dorito Effect when listening to one of my favorite podcasts. With such a ringing endorsements from my electronic commuter companions, I decided to buy a copy.

The first dozen or so pages were really interesting: learning about the start of Weight Watchers and the rise of the flavored chip known as the Dorito. After that though, everything went downhill. The rest of the book seems infatuated with barred rock chickens and garden gem tomatoes. With a title that includes the word, Dorito, I expected more of an expose on snack food or the flavoring of processed foods. Instead this book talks about how farmers set out to find food that can be massed producing more easily, which resulted in fat, young chickens with little taste and unripe tomatoes with no character.

The author was not very preachy. He did not try to condemn the reader for eating a Dorito, but he strongly suggests that your life is incomplete with improper foods. All said and done, I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would.