In ‘Tastemakers’, Sax examines food trends from all angles. He visits farmer’s markets, the research facility of Dole, and a man who is bringing back the older breeds of rice (while I knew there were a lot of strains of rice that we never see here in the US, I had no idea there were so very many!); talks with celebrity chefs, people who have made chia seeds a health food rather than a Christmas joke present, and people who own food trucks. He tells us that the current cupcake megatrend was started by a very short scene in ‘Sex in the City’- 20 seconds where a character eats a cupcake. Some food trends are created on purpose, as Dole is attempting; some are accidental like the cupcake one. The bacon trend started as a way for pork producers to use up something and for chain restaurants to have something cheap that they could charge a premium for when they put it on a burger, and morphed into a huge movement that affected all strata of food producers from home cooks to cheap chains to celebrity chefs. (Sax questions whether it’s a good idea to infuse bacon into everything; I have to say that, yes, yes it is.)
I’m a bit of a foodie, so I found the book fascinating. This is no cookbook; this is a sociological and historical book written in a brisk style.
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