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May 20, 2017 / Leslie

Grocery by Michael Ruhlman

Grocery by Michael RuhlmanA Rapid Review

The Buying and Selling of Food in America

Publisher: Abrams Press | Random House Audio | May 2017
Format: Audio 11 hours | 320 Pages | Rating: 4 stars
Audio Listening Level: Easy

What’s it about . . .

Grocery examines how rapidly supermarkets—and our food and culture—have changed since the days of your friendly neighborhood grocer. But rather than waxing nostalgic for the age of mom-and-pop shops, Ruhlman seeks to understand how our food needs have shifted since the mid-twentieth century, and how these needs mirror our cultural ones.

What did I think . . .
This is much more than a history of the grocery store; it is also a behind-the-scenes look at how a modern grocery store is operated and managed, and the industry’s continuous evolution.

Through interviews with the owners of Heinens, a Midwestern grocery chain, we learn about the workings of different departments and even learn the real reason why the dairy and freezer cases are at the rear of the store. (I always thought it was to make me walk past the snack aisle!) There is an entire section on avoiding the center aisles of the store and why you should shop the perimeter. I found it amazing that we are headed towards a society where almost no one cooks anymore. Entire prepared Thanksgiving dinners can be purchased from the local grocery store, something almost unheard of a decade ago.

The author’s personal stories and memories combined with his extensive research of the grocery industry make this an interesting and absorbing read. His description of the grocery store in the 1960s brought back my own childhood memories of grocery shopping as a Saturday morning family outing.

Audio production . . .
The narration was performed by Jonathan Todd Ross in a pleasant, clear voice with smooth pacing. This was an easy-to-follow narrative and a good selection for audio. Non-fiction is a good choice for new audio listeners or for listening in the car as there is no complex plot or characters to remember.

I read both print and audio and found my time listening to be a perfect choice for multitasking.

Audio Sample . . .

An Under My Apple Tree Rapid Review
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
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Leave a Comment
  1. Mae / May 20 2017 7:47 pm

    For a while this has been on my list of future books to read. It’s a topic worth studying.

    best… mae at


  2. Beth F / May 21 2017 6:14 am

    This is on my list too. Glad the audiobook was good, I may just go that route! I usually really like Ruhlman’s work.


  3. Vicki / May 22 2017 12:19 pm

    I’m addicted to audiobooks right now, but haven’t listened to a non-fiction yet. I hope my library has this.


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