Synopses & Reviews
Anyone with the power to make you eat quinoa.
Kale. Spicy sriracha sauce. Honeycrisp apples. Cupcakes. These days, it seems we are constantly discovering a new food that will make us healthier, happier, or even somehow cooler. Chia seeds, after a brief life as a novelty houseplant and I Love the 80s punchline, are suddenly a superfood. Not long ago, that same distinction was held by pomegranate seeds, açai berries, and the fermented drink known as kombucha. So what happened? Did these foods suddenly cease to be healthy a few years ago? And by the way, what exactly is a superfood” again?
In this eye-opening, witty work of reportage, David Sax uncovers the world of food trends: Where they come from, how they grow, and where they end up. Traveling from the South Carolina rice plot of America's premier grain guru to Chicago's gluttonous Baconfest, Sax reveals a world of influence, money, and activism that helps decide what goes on your plate. On his journey, he meets entrepreneurs, chefs, and even data analysts who have made food trends a mission and a business. The Tastemakers is full of entertaining stories and surprising truths about what we eat, how we eat it, and why.
"On Saturday nights in the 1970s, many Americans sat around bubbling pots of oil or cheese, spearing chunks of meat or bread into the hot fondue pots that had become the latest cooking trend. A decade later people pushed fondue pots to the dark recesses of their kitchen cabinets or threw them out with the morning trash. What creates a food trend? Who had the ability to market a food into a popular cultural moment? Food and business writer Sax (Save the Deli) probes these and other questions in this entertaining foray into why cupcakes ousted donuts as a food fad, and why quinoa had its day in the limelight before chia seeds blew it away. He begins by exploring the four types of food trends cultural (cupcakes), agricultural (heirloom fruits), chef-driven (ceviche), and health-driven (chia seeds). For example, chef-driven trends can introduce a comprehensive style of cooking and eating, or they can develop a focus on specific flavor profiles. Asserting that food alone doesn't drive food trends, Sax explores the power of sales, data used in forecasting food trends, and marketing to create the desire and opportunity for a particular food. Thus, prunes now go by the much more pleasing and less geriatric sounding 'dried plums.' In the end, Sax declares, food trends, though sometimes annoying, deepen and expand our cultural palate, spur economic growth, provide broad variety in our diets, and promote happiness." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Sax has done his homework and probably put on a few pounds. A solid overview of trendsetting foods brought to life with colorful examples.” Kirkus
David Sax has written a fascinating and surprising story of why we eat what we eat. It's a tale of overhyped chia seeds, rebranded fish, and unseen influencers. I will never again look at a grocery store aisle or my restaurant entree the same way.” A.J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically and Drop Dead Healthy
With forensic specificity, and, better still, a terrific sense of fun, David Sax explains precisely how foods du jour such as cupcakes, Greek yogurt, and Korean tacos happened.' The trends may seem silly, but The Tastemakers is not. Sax has given this gastro-exuberant time the whizzy, full-gallop treatment it deserves.” David Kamp, bestselling author of The United States of Arugula
They say there's no accounting for taste, but David Sax makes sense of the mysterious forces that shape our personal food preferences, through stories so absorbing and witty that I wasn't even sorry to discover that my taste buds are hardly my own. I devoured The Tastemakers like an oat bran muffin in 1989 or a chia-seed muffin today.” Karen Leibowitz, author of Mission Street Food: Recipes and Ideas from an Improbable Restaurant
Businessweek reporter and Save the Deli author David Sax goes inside the business of food trends to explain "superfoods," top chefs, and why we all, suddenly, took an interest in Greek yogurt.
Greek yogurt. Spicy chipotle mayo. Honeycrisp apples. The Cronut. These days, it seems we are constantly discovering a new food that will make us healthier, happier, or even somehow smarter. After a brief life as a novelty houseplant and "I Love the '80s" punchline, chia seeds are suddenly a superfood. Speaking of which, what ever happened to pomegranate juice? Or acai berries? Did they suddenly cease to be healthy in 2010? And by the way, what exactly is a superfood again?
In this eye-opening, witty work of reportage, David Sax uncovers the world of food trends: where they come from, how they grow, and where they end up. From the test labs at Dole foods to the food truck lobby to the 20 seconds of Sex and the City that forever changed the fate of the cupcake, Sax reveals the money and influence behind what you eat for breakfast.
In sections on how food trends are created, what makes them explode, and why they matter, Sax travels America in search of the farmers, planners, and chefs who help decide what you will spend three hours waiting for on a SoHo sidewalk. The Tastemakers is full of entertaining stories and useful bits of wisdom for maintaining your sanity in the complex world of food choices.
About the Author
David Sax is a writer specializing in business and food. His writing appears regularly in the New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, Saveur, the Grid Toronto,, and other publications. His first book, Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen, was a Los Angeles Times bestseller. Sax's work has also won a James Beard Award for Writing and Literature. He lives in Toronto.
David Sax on PowellsBooks.Blog
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