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The Taste of Tomorrow: Dispatches from the Future of Food Hardcover – April 10, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061804215
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061804212
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,716,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“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” (Ron Rosenbaum, author of Explaining Hitler and The Shakespeare Wars)

“In his candid, sensible survey, Schonwald weighs carefully the pros and cons of our well-intentioned, but often blindsided ‘foodie fundamentalism.’” (Publishers Weekly)

The Taste of Tomorrowis a fascinating adventure through what will controversially, inevitably, and desirably be on your grocery list of the future.” (Dan Koeppel, author of Banana: The Fate of the the Fruit that Changed the World)

“[An] enthusiastic exploration of a range of possible food futures.” (Booklist)

“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.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“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.” (Financial Times)

“[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.” (Washington Post)

“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.” (Chicago Tribune)

“…all this food exploration is divided into manageable and palate-pleasing bites.” (Associated Press)

From the Back Cover

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.


More About the Author

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

Customer Reviews

Schonwald raises my hope that someday I will eat fish that is grown and bred indoors.
Robert G Yokoyama
The main issue I had was that despite an obviously concerted effort to organize the book, it still felt meandering.
Debra
All in all, it's quite a fun, enjoyable, informative and easy read that I do recommend!
Amber M. Anderson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Norma Lehmeierhartie VINE VOICE on February 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I enjoyed reading The Taste of Tomorrow by Josh Schonwald, but didn't take it too seriously. While the author traveled and did do research on the subject of the future of food, he bases his ideas of the future on food based on what is brewing right now and doesn't take into consideration what the world itself will be like---from the environment to economics and scarcity. Because he is a journalist and not a scholar on the subject, putting the "future" at a distant 2035 made the whole book read like science fiction. I'll give him 5 stars for trying, but he was overambitious with this subject.

The reality is, writing about the future of food for an entire planet is a very complex undertaking. Much of what he writes about is highly speculative---like the lab grown meat, for instance--it is still little more than a concept. The scientists have not been able to grown anything even slightly resembling meat that is more than a cell or two and there may not be money to fund the research needed to do so.

The book is also somewhat limited; he covers vegetables, fish and lab grown meat, food pills and ethnic foods.

Yet--the book is entertaining, educational and thought provoking. I enjoyed his descriptions visiting the trade shows, farms and the meat lab in the Netherlands. I appreciated getting the inside scoop on what the vast farms in Salinas look like. And I liked the chapter on ethnic food and our constant quest for the next new food. (According to the food experts, African food seems to be the next big trend...but in 2035? By then, my guess is that the phrase itself ethnic foods will cease to have meaning...)

I think Schonwald would have been better off if he had not used 2035 but the "near future" because he simply does not have enough supporting evidence to show what we'll be eating in almost 25 years.

Update 3/8/12...Just read more about lab grown meat and it will probably be doable in the not so distant future...
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
While Pollan asked the question "what should we eat [now]?" this book asks "what should we plan on eating next?" It's hard not to compare the two books as (a) a large portion of the audience to which this is aimed will surely have read OD and (b) they are written in a similar way, following the author in a food quest with a narrative written though their own curious and questing eyes with various guides along the way...and with their own biases. Schonwald (the author of this book) admits a dislike of dairy, unforgiving love of meat, and an obsessive fondness of salad that seems to imply he might not consider any meal eaten after 11 am complete without it.

The book follows his journey though various food realms, constantly asking "what's the next big thing?". Several times the term "killer ap" is used and it seems very appropriate (what's the next big fish? vegetable? etc...) and points out that foods come in trends and topple each other for supremacy (broccoli introduced to Americas in the 1930s, the reign of iceberg now displaced by "spring mix", the prevalence of tilapia in today's supermarket when almost no one would have even been able to tell you it was a type of fish just 10 years ago.) He set the date 2035 as his target to figure out what we might be eating then.

Instead of bemoaning the rise of genetic modification, packaging, and processing...Schonwald is willing to evaluate it and sometimes even embrace it (you'll never look at a FreshExpress plastic salad bag the same way). He's equally willing to give treatment to the argument that allowing for seasonality allows better taste as he is that American's demand of having foods available year round has opened up new marketing potential to bring certain foods into profitability.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Hoffman, author:Radiation Days: A Comedy VINE VOICE on May 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The best chapters in this book deal with fish-farming and the progress of food factories. There is also a useful discussion of the emergence of 'frankenfoods' that's sure to return a bit of sanity to the discussion of the topic. The author comes across as a jolly sort of magazine journalist who ingratiates himself to the reader. His personal experience of mega-farms in Salinas and food expos in New York are lots of fun.
The book itself is a bit over-expanded, seeming like a collection of magazine articles that got stitched together. The author's personal love of salad, loathing of dairy products and fascination with meat make this more a book about what he'll eat tomorrow and perhaps less about the rest of us.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JudithAnn on April 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book is almost a memoir in that we follow the writer around the country (USA in particular, but he also visits my country, the Netherlands) researching the future of food. Unfortunately, quite early on, the writer confesses that he isn't a great dairy eater, so he leaves out anything to do with dairy foods. Bummer! I'm a vegetarian and I love dairy foods!

Now, being a vegetarian doesn't mean per sé that I'm not interested in the chapters about meat and fish (I do actually eat fish every now and then). Depending on why one is a vegetarian one might enjoy a nice slab of laboratory-grown meat. No animals are hurt in the process, although the basis is animal cells. You will have to wait a bit: it looks like the research into lab meat is only happening on a small scale in a small country.

The book begins with salad, however, and discusses how new salad ingredients have conquered the supermarket shelf quite recently and chances are that yet new varieties will be added in the near future. Then there's meat and fish. For the latter the author explores big, indoor fish tanks where fish are reared not unlike chickens and other meats currently: close together, not much room to move, but very controlled conditions which will produce the safest and highest quantities of fish. I don't know that I like that!

Schonwald also discusses the virtues of genetically modified food (although he is not in the first instance a proponent): higher yields per acre (feed the world), reduction in pesticide use (using crops that are not tasty for pests), nitrogen output reduction (crops that absorb nitrogen) and his favorite: a GM vitamin A-enhanced rice that can stop children in developing countries from contracting blindness. Interesting!
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