The Tastemakers: Why We're Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up with Fondue by David Sax
Tastemaker, n. 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.
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.
Table of Contents
Part I The Four Types of Trends
1 The Cultural Trend: Sex Appeal 3
2 Agriculture: The Slow Boat to China Black 29
3 Chefs: A Ceviche in Every Pot 51
4 Health: Take Two Chia Seeds and Call Me in the Morning 75
Part II How Trends Break Out
5 Sales: Awards Night 105
6 Data: The Trendwatchers 127
7 Marketing: Someday My Red Prince Will Come 149
Part III Why Food Trends Matter
8 Ethnic Foods: As American as Chicken Tikka Masala 177
9 Food Politics: The Taco Truck March on Washington 205
The Tastemakers: Why We're Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up with Fondue (Plus Baconomics, Superfoods, and Other Secrets from the World of Food Trends) 4 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
The Tastemakers is an interesting investigation into how foods, particularly quick serve, and presentations of them become popular within the last 20 years in American life. Beginning with the cupcake trend, inspired by the show, Sex and the City, to covering such topics as food trucks, gourmet hamburgers, quinoa, chia seeds, heirloom rice, pomegranate, south Asian food, etc., come in to popular focus, like a storm, then recede again, as if never there.
The strength of this work is its real investigation, from coast to coast, with extensive interviews, of the folks at the point of literally making new tastes. Much of post - WWII, American mass food culture gained a reputation of steady, dependable, and generally bland - perhaps with a little bit of French food in some larger cities and with every town of any size having a 'fine dining' steak house. The Tastemakers shows how that stranglehold was broken in the 90's, and is continuing in some really unpredictable ways, and shows how some things become popular, like gourmet burgers, and some things have the promise to, but never quite catch on, like Indian food in general culture.
As a book, this reads like a 270+ page, long form journalism story. There isn't a strong unifying theme here, but more of features and investigations of particular food types and why they have or have not become popular in the general culture. With the explosion of food expressions over the last 20 years, across the country, this is a worthwhile attempt to explain how that has happened, and how entrepreneurs up to larger corporations have attempted to adapt and lead.
Dan Rice had many lives. He was a pig presenter, a strongman, a lecturer, and
a comic singer, all before joining the dazzling world of the circus. In 1855, he created Dan Rice's Great Show. Labeling himself the Great American ...
Everyday Food, a digest-sized magazine, was created for the supermarket shopper and everyday cook. Featuring
over 50 quick, easy recipes in every issue, we provide tips, tricks, and how-to advice, along with answers to questions like What's for dinner tonight? ...
Food packaging is a multidisciplinary subject involving, Food Science, Food Engineering, Food Processing and Preservation,
Food Technology, Food Chemistry and Microbiology. This book includes 18 chapters related to mechanical and chemical pulps, the kinds of deteriorative reaction, food packaging metals ...
Owning a food truck business can be one of the most enjoyable business experiences in
the world. Think about it! Feeding hungry people tasty, freshly cooked, scrumptious meals at prices you'd pay at the local greasy spoon. But before getting ...
Great British Food scans the length and breadth of the British Isles to unearth forgotten
flavours and discover new hidden gems. From rapeseed oil producers, to pork pie makers, and oyster dredgers to pig farmers – Great British Food brings ...
The two mottos of the Bathroom Readers' Institute are evident in the pages of Instant
Genius: Get smart, and Have fun. As the creators of the wildly popular Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader series, the BRI has 20 years of experience ...
Letters to a Young Farmer is for everyone who appreciates good food grown with respect
for the earth, people, animals, and community. Three dozen esteemed writers, farmers, chefs, activists, and visionaries address the highs and lows of farming life—as well ...
Warm-weather cooking is a breeze with the first-ever special Summer Entertaining issue of Everyday Food
magazine. Find over 120 quick and delicious recipies for summer standouts, like peach pie and fruity pops, grilled chicken, sticky ribs, burgers, slaw, and potato ...