The Taste of Tomorrow: Dispatches from the Future of Food

Overview

A fascinating look at the people, trends, and technologies transforming the food of today and tomorrow

In The Taste of Tomorrow, journalist Josh Schonwald sets out on a journey to investigate the future of food. His quest takes him across the country and into farms and labs around the globe. From Alice Waters' microfarm to a Pentagon facility that has quietly shaped American supermarkets, The Taste of Tomorrow is a rare, behind-the-scenes ...

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The Taste of Tomorrow: Dispatches from the Future of Food

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Overview

A fascinating look at the people, trends, and technologies transforming the food of today and tomorrow

In The Taste of Tomorrow, journalist Josh Schonwald sets out on a journey to investigate the future of food. His quest takes him across the country and into farms and labs around the globe. From Alice Waters' microfarm to a Pentagon facility that has quietly shaped American supermarkets, The Taste of Tomorrow is a rare, behind-the-scenes glimpse at what we eat today—and what we'll be eating tomorrow.

Schonwald introduces us to a motley group of mad scientists, entrepreneurs, renegade farmers, and food engineers who are revolutionizing the food we eat. We meet the Harvard-trained pedia-trician who wants to change the way humans raise fish; a New York chef who believes he's found the next great ethnic cuisine; a lawyer-turned-nanotechnologist who believes he can solve human nutritional needs without using food.

In this lively and fascinating book, Schonwald explains how new foods happen; why some foods explode on the scene virtually overnight while others take decades—and countless failures—to catch on. And he doesn't shy away from controversy. Although the book begins as a simple search for "the salad, meat, seafood, and pad Thai of the future," Schonwald becomes increasingly focused on finding environmentally friendly foods of the future. Ultimately, he comes to believe that emerging scientific breakthroughs—genetic engineering, nanotechnology, food processing—are essential to feeding the globe's expanding (and hungry) population.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In search of what people will be probably be eating in 2035, Chicago food writer Schonwald considered sustainability and taste in unearthing some far-out gastronomic trends, from salad weeds to warehoused fish. In this easygoing, evenhandedly researched account, he takes the reader through his discoveries: in Salinas, Calif., the capital of America’s salad bowl, he gleans new possibilities for nutrient-rich bagged greens, from radicchio to such motley weeds as purslane (Gandhi’s favorite vegetable) and thistle; an in vitro meat lab in Utrecht, Netherlands, attempts to come up with RMD (a red meat alternative) that does not emit greenhouse gases, pack saturated fats, and carry diseases; while in Saltville, Va., aka Fish City, USA, the perfect saltwater fish—cobia—is happily grown in a landlocked warehouse that aims to capture its own gas emissions as well as help jump-start a domestic seafood industry closer to consumers. (An alarming 90% of the seafood in the U.S. is imported.) Schonwald surprised himself by adjusting his opinion of genetically modified foods, aka Frankenfood, by visiting geneticist Pamela Ronald’s plant lab at UC Davis, for example, which develops foods resistant to disease and rich in nutrients that can help feed the Third World. In his candid, sensible survey, Schonwald weighs carefully the pros and cons of our well-intentioned, but often blindsided “foodie fundamentalism.” (Apr.)
Ron Rosenbaum
“Josh Schonwald is an adventurous reporter and engaging writer whose appetite for his subject, so to speak, produces prose with just the right leavening of humor. If we are what we eat, his real subject is cultural self- definition”
Booklist
“[An] enthusiastic exploration of a range of possible food futures.”
Financial Times
“Schonwald is a good-natured and curious guide whose lightness of touch keeps you reading. A non-foodie at the start, he grows into his quest, championing sustainable, local and even genetically modified food to help feed the world.”
Washington Post
“[Schonwald] has come up with a great deal of interesting information, much of which will surprise people who eat food without giving much thought to where it comes from.”
Chicago Tribune
“This is a fun book…Schonwald has the talent to explain serious, complicated issues in ways the average reader will understand. He does it in an entertaining, often irreverent way that keeps you turning the pages…a provocative book.”
Associated Press Staff
“…all this food exploration is divided into manageable and palate-pleasing bites.”
Library Journal
From Alice Waters's microfarm to bioengineering and nanotechnology—seen by some as a way to eliminate hunger—Schonwald's book explores how we'll be eating tomorrow. Not one to see bioengineered food as a bad thing, Schonwald might be kicking up a bit of controversy here. Read with Tyler Cowen's An Economist Gets Lunch, this book should give you much, ahem, food for thought.
Kirkus Reviews
What will be featured on restaurant menus in 2035? In his examination of food trends of the future, journalist Schonwald discovers a fascinating array of characters and an unpredictable set of conclusions. He begins with the vibrant world of greens, particularly salad greens, and pursues a cross-continental search for the next big salad ingredient, a journey that takes him from his local Illinois farmer's market to California's "Salad Bowl." While conducting research, the author began to realized that "many of the ideas of the foodie mainstream are dangerously myopic, potentially destructive, and possibly the source of widespread blindness in Southeast Asia." Describing his own then-radical experience of eating bagged salad mix in the late 1990s and his resulting abstinence from iceberg lettuce, Schonwald displays a gleeful obsession with heirloom varieties of radicchio, deep interest in the "weedy" greens grown on Alice Waters' farm and childlike delight in rooting his own eating in the realities of seasonal availability. The author tackles an admittedly self-selected set of potential food trends, including "the next salmon" (cobia), healthier meats and the next big trend in ethnic food. Along the way, Schonwald comes to the conclusion that the future of food trends is actually a question about the future of the earth's ecological integrity, leading him to explore and largely embrace the possibilities of genetically engineered foods. The author effectively pairs his personal experiences with significant research, interviews and lively anecdotes. An articulate food book that has an opinion without being preachy and that exudes a joy about food without being oversimplified.
Jonathan Yardley
Schonwald…focuses on three broad areas of interest: the salad revolution, which has brought new ingredients to the table—think radicchio, and weeds, and greens in sealed bags…efforts to grow meat in vitro, i.e., in the laboratory rather than in the cow; and the rise of land-based fish farming. Every once in a while his prose turns a little flippant…but he has come up with a great deal of interesting information, much of which will surprise people who eat food without giving much thought to where it comes from.
—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061804212
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/10/2012
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,456,358
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Josh Schonwald has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Salon. He lives in Evanston, Illinois, with his wife, children, and indoor aquaponic system.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: Gastropub 2035 1

Part 1 Beginnings

1 The Next Salmon and the Bagged Salad Moment 7

Part 2 Salad Days

2 Into the World's Salad Bowl 21

3 The Radicchio King, the Produce Oligarchy, and the Greatest Engineering Feat in Salad History 41

4 Alice Waters' Farmer (The Weed Period) 64

5 The Culinary Potential of Frankenfood 86

Part 3 Meat

6 Why Not Cow, Goat, Emu, or Rabbit? 119

7 The Guilt-Free, Heart-Attack-Fighting Super Burger 124

8 Among the Meat Growers 137

Part 4 Fish

9 Where Is the Next Salmon? 157

10 The Super Bowl of Seafood 162

11 The Last Perfect Species: St. Peter's Fish 175

12 The Tilapia Tycoon with Cobia Dreams 178

13 The Nephrologist 193

14 The Seafood Revolution Will Be Indoors 208

Part 5 Ethnic

15 The Deadhead and the Next Pad Thai 215

16 The Food Futurists 218

17 The Last Culinary Frontier 237

Part 6 The End of Food

18 Achieving Metabolic Dominance 253

19 The Nano Panacea 262

Conclusion: The Perfect Meal 275

Recipes: The Mouthfeel of the Future 281

Acknowledgments 291

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