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The Secret Financial Life of Food

From Commodities Markets to Supermarkets
Newman, Kara (Book - 2013 )
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Secret Financial Life of Food
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Columbia Univ Pr

One morning while reading Barron's, Kara Newman took note of a casual bit of advice offered by famed commodities trader Jim Rogers. "Buy breakfast," he told investors, referring to the increasing value of pork belly and frozen orange juice futures. The statement inspired Newman to take a closer look at agricultural commodities, from the iconic pork belly to the obscure peppercorn and nutmeg. The results of her investigation, recorded in this fascinating history, show how contracts listed on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange can read like a menu and how market behavior can dictate global economic and culinary practice.

The Secret Financial Life of Food reveals the economic pathways that connect food to consumer, unlocking the mysteries behind culinary trends, grocery pricing, and restaurant dining. Newman travels back to the markets of ancient Rome and medieval Europe, where vendors first distinguished between "spot sales" and "sales for delivery." She retraces the storied spice routes of Asia and recounts the spice craze that prompted Christopher Columbus's journey to North America, linking these developments to modern-day India's bustling peppercorn market.

Newman centers her history on the transformation of corn into a ubiquitous commodity and uses oats, wheat, and rye to recast America's westward expansion and the Industrial Revolution. She discusses the effects of such mega-corporations as Starbucks and McDonalds on futures markets and considers burgeoning markets, particularly "super soybeans," which could scramble the landscape of food finance. The ingredients of American power and culture, and the making of the modern world, can be found in the history of food commodities exchange, and Newman connects this unconventional story to the how and why of what we eat.



Authors: Newman, Kara
Statement of Responsibility: Kara Newman
Title: The secret financial life of food
from commodities markets to supermarkets
Publisher: New York : Columbia University Press, c2013
Characteristics: x, 194 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references and index
Contents: How does commodities trading work?
The spice route
The commodity that built a nation: corn futures
Great grains
Butter and egg men
The mochaccino market: coffee, sugar, and cocoa
Cattle call
This little piggy made a market: the rise and fall of pork bellies
When money grows on trees: produce futures
Super soybeans
The future of food futures? Contracts to consider
Subject Headings: Food History Agriculture Economic aspects History Commodity exchanges History
Topical Term: Food
Agriculture
Commodity exchanges
LCCN: 2012010138
ISBN: 0231156707
9780231156707
Branch Call Number: 332.6441 N
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