A book cover designed with secret-looking files and pictures of people clipped to them

Edible Secrets: A Food Tour of Classified U.S. History

by Mia Partlow & Michael Hoerger and Nate Powell

CIA documents....about food!

What do top-secret CIA assassination plots, Black Panther arrests, and Reaganomics have in common? Food, of course! Michael Hoerger and Mia Partlow collect, contextualize and graphically narrate declassified government documents with food as a theme! Over 500,000 declassified memos, debriefings and transcripts were combed to uncover some of the most important and iconic people and narratives from US history. Providing a voyeuristic insight into the US government, these documents are like reality TV for politicos and foodies: Assassinations by milkshake, subliminal popcorn cravings, Reagan's love of hydroponics, and what could be Fred Hampton's most radical action—giving ice cream to small children. Illustrated throughout by Nate Powell.




"over a period of 5 years the Authors Mia Partlow and Michael Hoerger were able to find and bring us some of the most interesting, unique and sometimes just strange real life stories all relating to food and the FBI, CIA popular figures of history and some of the largest corporations of America."

-True Punk



Outlandishly funny, painfully poignant, and politically relevant, Edible Secrets touches on some of our countries notorious, yet shrouded historical moments in great detail and great wit.


An awfully intriguing and fun read examining the relationship between food and some of the more infamous moments and figures in modern American history. Amazingly true stories about how Jell-o played a role in the trial of Julius and Ethyl Rosenberg; the influence Coke and Pepsi have had over the White House for decades now; and the U.S. government's assassination attempts on Fidel Castro via poisoned Chinese food are just some of the many shocking tidbits Michael Hoerger and Mia Partlow divulge here.


How do you make 500,000 declassified documents yield their stories? Edible Secrets: A Food Tour of Classified U.S. History pulls it off with a combination of stellar journalism and informative, witty illustration. Scholar Mia Partlow, graphic designer Michael Hoerger, and illustrator Nate Powell collaborated to create what started out as a serialized zine on the relationship between food and politics in America, and the highly confidential government coverups of these strange bedfellows' intersection. Upton Sinclair-style muckraking for our modern era, Edible Secrets covers the CIA's milkshake assassination plot of Fidel Castro, popcorn mind-control schemes, and how a box of Jell-O led to two death sentences during the 1950s Communist red scare. Like a graphic interpretation of Wikileaks, the slim but delectable volume investigates the down-and-dirty ways in which the U.S. government altered history using the most common of comestibles.


"What started, in part, as a serially released zine has been turned into an intense and witty mash-up of classic shoe-leather journalism, culinary storytelling, and call for social justice. In graphic form, the authors dive head-on into public records to detail many unsavory factoids about Uncle Sam -- such as how the police seemingly used a 1968 Chicago-area ice cream theft to silence Black Panther leader Fred Hampton.

Hoerger and Partlow's innovative method makes sense on many levels. Millions of pages of declassified docs can't readily be sifted through, the authors' logic goes, so an efficient way to track the federal government's inner workings is to look at a specific cultural institution -- food -- as an angle.

This offbeat approach winds up working damned well in a little more than 100 easy-to-read pages, creating a sort of hybrid between Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States and Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals."


Even men in black need to eat, and one has to wonder if a case of the munchies didn’t just give g-men some of their more hair brained ideas.

With brilliant illustrations from Nate Powell, Edible Secrets details efforts like the CIA’s foray into mind control (eat popcorn) and their attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro via a poison milkshake. One single box of Jello was enough to convict and sentence two people to death during the red scare and the U.S. Government has taken an active role in promoting Cola across the globe to smash communism and increase corporate profits.


From the government's repeated attempts to poison Fidel Castro's milkshake to Black Panther Fred Hampton's prison sentence for stealing ice cream, the sips of the CIA's secrets leave the reader realizing the enormous amount of activities the feds keep under wraps.


This book is a must read- it's well-written, informative, and really fun.


This offbeat approach winds up working damned well in a little more than 100 easy-to-read pages, creating a sort of hybrid between Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States and Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals.


"This book contains some powerful new disclosures gleaned from FBI files and presented in a politically relevant form. Great research and a good read."


"Mix ice cream, Jell-O, popcorn, Coca-Cola, and a milkshake with CIA and FBI secret files, some of the American empire’s biggest corporations, and the last ten presidents. What have you got? A recipe for revolutionary change. Read Edible Secrets to find out more. It provides a stimulating taste of the government’s inner workings."