The Way We Eat Now
‘At no point in history have edible items been so easy to obtain. Humans have always gone out and gathered food, but never before has it been so simple for us to gather anything we want, whenever and wherever we want it, from sachets of squid ink to strawberries in winter.’ ‘It’s now becoming clear that the way that most people currently eat is not sustainable – either for the planet or for human health. If we want to stop getting swallowed up by our own food and to re-establish eating as something that gives us both joy and health, it makes sense to find out where we are right now, how we got here and what it is that we share.’ Why does it no longer seem odd that we’re able to eat sushi in Italy and Neapolitan pizza in Dubai?What has happened to the food we eat to make this possible, and how have these blurred boundaries influenced cultural development, as well as national appetites?From bananas and grapes to ultra-processed snacks, we may not spend enough time thinking about the origins of the food we’re eating, or how their ingredients might have altered over time. In The Way We Eat Now, award-winning food writer Bee Wilson examines the current food climate, exploring how we have found ourselves here, and at what potential cost.The Way We Eat Now also introduces us to the countries and communities that are making revolutionary efforts towards improving their populations’ relationship with food, and considers how we too might re-establish a more balanced connection with what, as well as how, we eat.

The Way We Eat Now Details

TitleThe Way We Eat Now
Author
ReleaseMar 21st, 2019
PublisherFourth Estate
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Food and Drink, Food, Health, Nutrition, Environment

The Way We Eat Now Review

  • Luca
    January 1, 1970
    The Way We Eat Now by Bee Wilson is an insightful and astonishing book about our present-day eating habits. “The story of modern cooking is not a simple tale of decline but a more complex and hopeful one. When we say that ‘no one cooks any more’ we often have in mind a particular version of home cooking that depended on women being confined to a life of unpaid labour. By contrast, the new cooking of our times is done by a wider range of people in a wider range of ways.”(284) When I was about tw The Way We Eat Now by Bee Wilson is an insightful and astonishing book about our present-day eating habits. “The story of modern cooking is not a simple tale of decline but a more complex and hopeful one. When we say that ‘no one cooks any more’ we often have in mind a particular version of home cooking that depended on women being confined to a life of unpaid labour. By contrast, the new cooking of our times is done by a wider range of people in a wider range of ways.”(284) When I was about two chapters into this book I felt that it was not really addressing something new. I love cooking and estimate that I have a fairly reasonable talent for making sensible choices when it concerns food. Meat is off the limits for me, and I feel that I approach food-related trends with a critical, yet fair mindset. So what was this book offering me that I did not already know? Rather a lot, it turned out! Our modern food culture is based on so many interrelated elements. There will always be elements that you probably would never have considered to be relevant, which turn out to be crucial. From the plates, we put our food on, to initiatives from various countries aimed at improving our diet, Bee Wilson achieved to discuss a great number of important aspects. The book reads a little bit like a collection of separate essays, so you can easily put it down if you feel a little bit overwhelmed. Actually, I think that would even be a good thing because the points that Wilson brings up deserve some thought. She continuously managed to surprise me by related topics, that I was familiar with (tasty videos, meal replacement shakes, and cooking because you enjoy cooking), but would have never thought of as relevant.Now, what is great about The Way We Eat Now is that Wilson never gets judgmental. She never fails to highlight the positive aspects of modern food culture. Especially her section on the phenomenon that we now have a generation that has learned to cook from a screen rather than learning from family members really spoke to me. Change is not always a bad thing. But the one lesson we can derive from this is that we have to be mindful and critical about how change will affect people, our diet, and our planet. After reading The Way We Eat Now it is clear to me that I am not going to change the way how we treat our food by myself, and neither are you. But together we can become more aware of our habits, and eventually push for a more sustainable kind of progress when it comes to improving the way we eat. My rating for this book is 4 out of 5 stars. I received a digital copy of this book for free through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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  • Max
    January 1, 1970
    One of the best books about food and eating I've read. The Way We Eat Now describes our relationship with food in detail, but not in a preachy kind of way. This book is very informative, I've learned a lot of new things about food. The writing style is accessible for a lot of people, and it's easy to read even though you're not very knowledgeable of the topics discussed. I think this is an important book and I hope many people pick it up.Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC to rea One of the best books about food and eating I've read. The Way We Eat Now describes our relationship with food in detail, but not in a preachy kind of way. This book is very informative, I've learned a lot of new things about food. The writing style is accessible for a lot of people, and it's easy to read even though you're not very knowledgeable of the topics discussed. I think this is an important book and I hope many people pick it up.Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC to read. Opinions are my own!
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  • Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
    January 1, 1970
    My response to this analysis of contemporary diet and food culture was...underwhelming, but to some extent that’s due to my familiarity with many of the studies and trends that Bee Wilson covers. If you’re at all interested in these issues it’s likely you’ve heard it all before.
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  • Cynthia
    January 1, 1970
    A wonderful book! Anyone who is concerned about wellness, weight gain, or the environment needs to read this book. Bee Wilson has done a marvelous and comprehensive study of the vast changes in how we eat during the last thirty or so years. She covers it all - grocery stores, vegetable vs. meat consumption, advertising and marketing of food, the new boxed meal kits, and why all these changes took place in the years after WWII. An excellent book, strongly and highly recommended. The author is a t A wonderful book! Anyone who is concerned about wellness, weight gain, or the environment needs to read this book. Bee Wilson has done a marvelous and comprehensive study of the vast changes in how we eat during the last thirty or so years. She covers it all - grocery stores, vegetable vs. meat consumption, advertising and marketing of food, the new boxed meal kits, and why all these changes took place in the years after WWII. An excellent book, strongly and highly recommended. The author is a terrific storyteller, so this book is both informative and a great read. I truly enjoyed it, and it will change how I eat from now on.
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  • Ren
    January 1, 1970
    More like 2.5. This feels scoldy, even when I agree with many of her points (but not all...what's with this war on snacks?!) There's a lot of repetition and a bit too much opinion - in a long polemic against bananas in their typical form today (the Cavendish), the author mentions six or seven times how flavorless or bland or bad tasting they are. It's weird. If you don't like bananas, don't buy or eat them. But she does. She just also complains that they're not delicious.I get where it's all com More like 2.5. This feels scoldy, even when I agree with many of her points (but not all...what's with this war on snacks?!) There's a lot of repetition and a bit too much opinion - in a long polemic against bananas in their typical form today (the Cavendish), the author mentions six or seven times how flavorless or bland or bad tasting they are. It's weird. If you don't like bananas, don't buy or eat them. But she does. She just also complains that they're not delicious.I get where it's all coming from - people are overweight and unhealthy and what we eat is killing us, but there's also some talking out of both sides of the mouth here - we have so many options and international cuisines to pick and choose from nearly everywhere, but we have too much choice and that's bad; squash being bred to be smaller and more flavor-dense instead of watery = good, grapes bred to not have seeds or be sour = bad? Also an epilogue that tells us to buy smaller, old-timey dishes feels useless.But it does have some useful and just interesting information, especially about historic diets and changes, and a good but very basic rundown about why clean eating, superfoods, and other food trends are bogus.
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  • GONZA
    January 1, 1970
    This is not a recipes book or a diet one, is an interesting survey on what we eat now, and why and mostly it explains why in less than 100 years our eating habits changed so much. I really appreciate the way the author handles the researches and the results without saying what should be better and why, I mean she does it also, but she doesn't do that hiding between the results that she chose to put forward her theory, which is something that usually happens whenever we read about food and all th This is not a recipes book or a diet one, is an interesting survey on what we eat now, and why and mostly it explains why in less than 100 years our eating habits changed so much. I really appreciate the way the author handles the researches and the results without saying what should be better and why, I mean she does it also, but she doesn't do that hiding between the results that she chose to put forward her theory, which is something that usually happens whenever we read about food and all the things that we are not supposed to eat, but still we do. All in all, a very special book about food.Questo non é né un libro di ricette, nè una nuova dieta, é un'osservazione piena di ricerche e studi sull'attuale stato della nutrizione in tutte le parti del mondo e di come le nostre abitudini alimentari siano cambiate in meno di 1oo anni. Quello che ho apprezzato particolarmente dell'autrice, é stato il suo modo di illustrare tutte le ricerche e non solo quelle che lei ritenevano fossero piú utili a portare avanti il suo punto di vista, o un tipo di alimentazione rispetto ad un'altra, e questo non capita di solito in questo tipo di libri, dove gli autori sono soliti portare l'acqua al loro mulino ignorando risultati che non confermano le loro teorie rispetto a cosa sia il caso di mangiare e cosa sia meglio evitare. Tutto sommato un ottimo libro sul cibo.THANKS NETGALLEY FOR THE PREVIEW!
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  • Philippa
    January 1, 1970
    An insightful and engrossing read for anyone interested in food, food culture and the sustainability of how it is produced and consumed. Bee Wilson has thoroughly researched this subject and some of the points she makes are quite jaw-dropping. We are now a very time-poor (or lazy) society that prioritises ease instant gratification and choice over sustainability and long-term health and prosperity and this has made us, despite living in an era of great abundance (which is not, as the book also g An insightful and engrossing read for anyone interested in food, food culture and the sustainability of how it is produced and consumed. Bee Wilson has thoroughly researched this subject and some of the points she makes are quite jaw-dropping. We are now a very time-poor (or lazy) society that prioritises ease instant gratification and choice over sustainability and long-term health and prosperity and this has made us, despite living in an era of great abundance (which is not, as the book also goes into detail about, sustainable), very unhealthy. It makes me more determined than ever to stay away from the drive-thru (though Bee writes very compassionately about why this is such a compelling choice for so many people) and eat seasonally, locally and consciously. I know it's the most obvious pun but this is a book that will give you much food for thought!
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    This has been enlightening. I've audibly exclaimed a few times and forced Richard to stop what he's reading/doing and listen while I read bits to him. There is a great final chapter with tips for change in it as well. As a result of reading this I've had my first try at making my own granola - then I have one meal that I can know exactly what has gone into it. I'm fortunate enough to live in a city full of good food options and variety so making some changes is possible quite easily. I recognise This has been enlightening. I've audibly exclaimed a few times and forced Richard to stop what he's reading/doing and listen while I read bits to him. There is a great final chapter with tips for change in it as well. As a result of reading this I've had my first try at making my own granola - then I have one meal that I can know exactly what has gone into it. I'm fortunate enough to live in a city full of good food options and variety so making some changes is possible quite easily. I recognise others are not that easily served.
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  • Brian Hagerty
    January 1, 1970
    I picked this up after reading an Atlantic article discussing it and a few related titles. I was disappointed, mostly because Wilson's comments about how we should eat are uninformed. This book is really just an extended opinion piece rather than an evidence-based assessment of what is wrong with our food system and our diets. To be fair, Wilson isn't a nutritionist and doesn't pretend to be, and her goal is to make sweeping statements about the global food system. And she does helpfully point o I picked this up after reading an Atlantic article discussing it and a few related titles. I was disappointed, mostly because Wilson's comments about how we should eat are uninformed. This book is really just an extended opinion piece rather than an evidence-based assessment of what is wrong with our food system and our diets. To be fair, Wilson isn't a nutritionist and doesn't pretend to be, and her goal is to make sweeping statements about the global food system. And she does helpfully point out the perniciousness of the spread of processed foods and oils.But she makes a lot of wrongheaded statements. Though some are couched as opinions, they still come across as if they are based on evidence (though they are not). For instance, she says (p. 214):To me, eating more vegetarian meals—but not exclusively so—feels like a pragmatic path through the jungle of modern food options. . . . 'Only buy the best meat you can afford, grass-fed for preference,' say a host of experts on ethical eating. [No source cited!] . . . For me, the best compromise has been to make meat a smaller element than it used to be in my family's eating without eliminating it altogether.First, a lot of experts on "ethical eating" would say eating animals is unethical. And setting ethics aside, meat is unhealthy, period. Read How Not to Die by Michael Greger or Dean Ornish's work or the work of Neal Barnard and the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine and you will realize that the best science shows that meat, dairy, and eggs promote a host of illnesses and have no dietary upside. So reducing meat is better than not doing so—but eliminating it is even better. Wilson, however, implies that eating some meat is somehow preferable to being vegan, and that is simply not true.To take another example, in the epilogue where she does actually give diet advice, she says (pp. 300-01):For most of us, a less meat or less sugar diet is easier to achieve than one without any meat or sugar at all. . . . What does a healthy pattern of eating look like? Many nutritionists advocate the Mediterranean diet, consisting of olive oil, fish, nuts, vegetables, legumes, and fruits. Others prefer the newer concept of a Nordic diet, a sustainable way of eating rich in berries and dark grains such as rye, barley, and oats; rapeseed oil; and oily fish such as herring and salmon. But those of us who live neither in the Mediterranean nor [in] Scandinavia may have to invent our own patterns of eating. Fumiaki Imamura told me that since moving to the United States and Britain from Japan, he had asked many people what a healthy local diet looked like 'and no one has been able to answer me.' The fact that no one can yet identify a healthy American diet is worrying, but you could also see it as an opportunity. The future of our diets is a blank slate on which we are free to write our own rules.This is really a pernicious and wrongheaded message. First, so what if it's "easier" to reduce meat and sugar than to eliminate it? No kidding! It's also easier to eat fast food than to cook a meal. I don't need a journalist to tell me it's easier to do the unhealthy thing than the healthy thing. More important, Wilson should not be perpetuating the myth that nutrition is some confusing, trackless wilderness that we must get through based on our intuition. It is simply not true that "no one can yet identify a healthy American diet." And of course, diets are a "blank slate" only if you don't care what science tells us about what we should be eating. Science tells us to eat a whole-food plant-based diet, with minimal (or no) refined oils and sugar. Science does not tell us that we should be eating oil or fish. Again, the work of Neal Barnard and the Physician's Committee on Responsible Medicine is helpful here, and he has a great short video explaining that a vegan diet is healthier than the Mediterranean diet.In short, though some aspects of this book are useful, much of the information in it is just intuition, sentiment, and guesswork, and some of it is flat wrong. I think the wrong information outweighs what is useful, and I do not recommend it.
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  • Jenny Chase
    January 1, 1970
    I gave up on this about halfway through, because it was more polemic than informative for someone who is basically interested in food. There are a few nuggets - like the idea that the original sort of banana tasted much better than the modern Cavendish - but it is horribly padded. A low point was taking 5 pages to explain repeatedly that our satiety response doesn't seem to react to liquids. There are also a few lines that might actually have gone in interesting directions - eg the throwaway ide I gave up on this about halfway through, because it was more polemic than informative for someone who is basically interested in food. There are a few nuggets - like the idea that the original sort of banana tasted much better than the modern Cavendish - but it is horribly padded. A low point was taking 5 pages to explain repeatedly that our satiety response doesn't seem to react to liquids. There are also a few lines that might actually have gone in interesting directions - eg the throwaway idea that diet drinks are no better than sugary ones for prediabetic people. But this was just dropped. Why? What are the confounding factors in such a study? The result just seems like fetishisation of historic ways of eating, rather than a real review of the science. There are others - for example, after asserting that soybeans were planted in Brazil to improve the soil between wheat crops, the book then talks about how soybeans are very fertilizer intensive. Possibly the fertilizer is potassium and phosphorous rather than the nitrates fixed by soybeans, but this seemed an incongruous barrier to actually believing this. Anyway, just not information dense enough.
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  • Rita
    January 1, 1970
    “Our food system is currently full of mismatches. Some of these mismatches are cultural, as we fail to adapt to the new realities of eating in a age of abundance. Our food culture remains too mysty-eyed about sugary food, for example. We haven’t adjust to the fact that sugar is no longer a rare and and special celebration food, worthy of devotion. Nor have we yet modified our attitudes towards those who are overweight and obese, to reflect the fact that these people are now in the majority.” (pp “Our food system is currently full of mismatches. Some of these mismatches are cultural, as we fail to adapt to the new realities of eating in a age of abundance. Our food culture remains too mysty-eyed about sugary food, for example. We haven’t adjust to the fact that sugar is no longer a rare and and special celebration food, worthy of devotion. Nor have we yet modified our attitudes towards those who are overweight and obese, to reflect the fact that these people are now in the majority.” (pp.75-76)Incredibly eye-opening. This is a book to read now.Bee Wilson invites you into the current food scenario. She makes you see how our relationship with food is constantly changing and how difficult it can be to adapt in a mindful way. The book presents itself with a handfull of Economics, History, Sociology, Gastronomy, Health, Education and much more (in an easy and pleasent writing to follow).I would definitly reccomend this book for a non-fiction reading in 2019.
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  • Emanuel
    January 1, 1970
    There's an excerpt at the back cover that reads "this book should be required reading for everyone." I couldn't agree more. Such a thought-provoking book that deals with a universal act played out every single minute somewhere in the world, and yet not many of us realise the forces behind it. The Way We Eat Now highlights some key moments in the food transition with plenty of examples and research and backed by scientific evidence without ever sounding formal or academic of even preach-y. If you There's an excerpt at the back cover that reads "this book should be required reading for everyone." I couldn't agree more. Such a thought-provoking book that deals with a universal act played out every single minute somewhere in the world, and yet not many of us realise the forces behind it. The Way We Eat Now highlights some key moments in the food transition with plenty of examples and research and backed by scientific evidence without ever sounding formal or academic of even preach-y. If you're remotely interested in what goes on your plate, why or what you eat the way you do or simply want to get a very interesting insight in the food/diet/nutrition movement, I'd highly recommend picking this up.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    Bee Wilson is an author of several other why/how we eat books. Here, she systematically documents the global trends that have shaped how we eat, from the not so good (too much ultra processed food with resulting obesity and related ill-health) and some good (reclaiming a love of cooking, expansion of availability of local foods). I was surprised about the lists of countries with the healthiest diet patterns. I enjoyed the discussion how the timing of eating in different groups affects their over Bee Wilson is an author of several other why/how we eat books. Here, she systematically documents the global trends that have shaped how we eat, from the not so good (too much ultra processed food with resulting obesity and related ill-health) and some good (reclaiming a love of cooking, expansion of availability of local foods). I was surprised about the lists of countries with the healthiest diet patterns. I enjoyed the discussion how the timing of eating in different groups affects their overall diet.
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  • Joana
    January 1, 1970
    This was very interesting and comprehensive. As many other reviewers pointed out it is also not accusatory or shaming (unless you're a company trying to sell us unhealthy processed food), but helpful and respectful of different context. In my opinion, it could perhaps do with a little extra editing as it was very long and things tended to repeat themselves. But I highly recommend it if you're interested in food: it will make you want to cook and eat (better).
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  • Libby
    January 1, 1970
    There's some interesting parts of this book, for sure. It wasn't quite what I was expecting - it felt more personal and sometimes scolding than I'd expected, not as historic/academic. But it was overall an interesting, easily understandable discussion of food.
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  • Carman Chew
    January 1, 1970
    Never would I have thought that I'd be so fascinated by a book on food but from beginning until end, she raises poignant point after point. a truly thought-provoking book that will change the way you eat and think about food.
  • Anders Furze
    January 1, 1970
    An excellent survey of the economic, social, cultural and nutritional forces that influence what we eat, both in the west and elsewhere. There were whole chapters where every consecutive paragraph revealed something new and insightful. Recommended.
  • Gaby Chapman
    January 1, 1970
    How (mostly American) food industry greed has spread obesity and ill health around the world and what some people are doing about it.
  • Margaret
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting information, a little preachy at times
  • Jade Fang
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book. Finally a book about food that looks at historical context and historical trends and doesn't blame and shame people. Love it!
  • Elif
    January 1, 1970
    Have you noticed how everything from wine glasses to our plates grown bigger, and so we are eating more than ever? English: https://elifthereader.com/books/the-w...Türkçe: https://kitaplikkedisi.com/kitaplar/t...
  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    Have you ever wondered who thought of putting avocado on toast and why it’s suddenly so popular?I’ve been around a few decades now and I can tell you that some of the more modern creations are focused on health while there’s others that are simply focused on price and quantity, no so much quality. With “The Way We Eat Now” you’ll get a deeper insight to how our food has come from basic farm to table to scientific advancements that both have the same focus… health.
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  • Heather Bennett
    January 1, 1970
    The Way We Eat Now is a very interesting and informative book on how good has changed over the years. The clearly did her research on why and how it has changed over the years. This book is easy to read and will make you think about the food you eat.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    The Way We Eat Now is a fascinating look at the history of food consumption and the ways in which it has changed over time. Wilson adeptly explains major shifts in eating: from the agricultural revolution to the mass production of processed foods in recent decades. She highlights the positive and negative effects of these drastic diet changes, from devastating environmental impacts to increases in human longevity. Wilson's main argument is that despite living in a time of vast food abundance and The Way We Eat Now is a fascinating look at the history of food consumption and the ways in which it has changed over time. Wilson adeptly explains major shifts in eating: from the agricultural revolution to the mass production of processed foods in recent decades. She highlights the positive and negative effects of these drastic diet changes, from devastating environmental impacts to increases in human longevity. Wilson's main argument is that despite living in a time of vast food abundance and variety, humans are growing more and more unhealthy. Wilson maintains a highly narrative voice throughout, making the reading easy and engaging. In fact, the book reads almost as a series of essays, making it easy to consume in smaller parts which is always nice in a nonfiction book. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in food, history, and humans' environmental impact.
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  • Flavia
    January 1, 1970
    Bee Wilson has written a brilliantly non-judgemental balanced book which thoroughly investigates our eating habits (past, present, future). In spite of the book title, I found the tone of the book, and even the information provided, happily devoid of moralism; Wilson isn't interested in making us feel bad about the way we eat but she is interested in providing a food education that allows the reader to be aware of the vast and considerable context behind our food choices. The premise of the book Bee Wilson has written a brilliantly non-judgemental balanced book which thoroughly investigates our eating habits (past, present, future). In spite of the book title, I found the tone of the book, and even the information provided, happily devoid of moralism; Wilson isn't interested in making us feel bad about the way we eat but she is interested in providing a food education that allows the reader to be aware of the vast and considerable context behind our food choices. The premise of the book lies in the terrifying fact that the way we are eating now is the cause of the highest rate of disease and death internationally (beating tobacco and alcohol). In the book she analyses diet transitions, for example the impact of sugary drinks and packaged snack food upon cultures and countries around the world, and the massive reverberation that this has had upon our social, nutritional and psychological eating habits. Wilson presents the problems and horror stories of both clean eating and ready meals (or takeways or food substitutes) but in spite of the numbers, the facts, the consequences of a global mono diet, the paradox of choice, climate change and our obsessive food fads, she remains confident and hopeful about a future where behavioural change will set us back on track to healthy and happy eating. An important book for our times and bellies!
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