Books

Quick Reads: "Behind the Kitchen Door" By Saru Jayaraman

| Thu Feb. 7, 2013 6:06 AM EST
book cover

Behind the Kitchen Door

By Saru Jayaraman

CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESS

In a memorable Portlandia episode, a pretentious couple prods a server for absurd details about the locally sourced chicken on the menu. With all our passion for food sustainability, asks Saru Jayaraman, shouldn't we consider the cooks, runners, and servers who prep our pampered poultry? Jayaraman shows us the dark side of the food industry, which hosts 7 out of the 10 lowest-paid jobs in America, where the federal minimum wage for tipped employees has stood frozen for decades at $2.13 an hour—even as employers pilfer tips, deprive workers of benefits, and allow workplace harassment and prejudice.

 

This review originally appeared in our January/February issue of Mother Jones.

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