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The Tastemakers: Why We're Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up with Fondue by [Sax, David]
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The Tastemakers: Why We're Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up with Fondue Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Entertaining… Sax has seized on a big, juicy topic, and is at his best in on-the-scene reporting, where the brisk, funny, assured voice that earned him many fans…keeps us galloping through the aisles… Sax is great company, a writer of real and lasting charm… The Tastemakers will leave readers wondering about how susceptible we are to the charms of any new food—and how long we’re likely to stay captivated.”—New York Times Book Review

“Sax…embarks on a lively culinary your of America, consulting chefs, producers, foodies, food buyers, and trend forecasters to find out why one day sriracha sauce is all the rage, and the next, people are adding kale to every meal.”—The Economist

“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 Reviews

“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

“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

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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 4640 KB
  • Print Length: 560 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart (May 27, 2014)
  • Publication Date: May 27, 2014
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HKXQT2I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,939,803 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Chicago Book Addict TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 30, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I was excited to pick up this book because I have a personal interest in food and cooking and also have a history working in marketing on food brands, which has meant first hand experience with food trend spotting. In short, this book seemed made for someone like me. I also read Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen, also by David Sax, so I was already familiar with his writing style and voice.

Similar to to Save the Deli, I found the strengths of this book to be the quality of the research and Sax's knack for creative descriptions. I especially love his creative descriptions because I read a lot of food writing, so I appreciate his ability to describe foods and the food scenes in ways I haven't previously heard in other books. And not only do his descriptions feel new, but they do an amazing job of bringing to life what he is talking about. Whenever he was describing a scene in this book I truly felt that he transported me to the middle of it.

That said, my experience with this book was not without issues. Like Save the Deli, my biggest issue was with the overall organization of the book. It really didn't feel like there was a continuous narrative throughout or some kind of structure tying all the pieces together. Because of this, some of the chapters and even paragraphs within the chapters felt disjointed and it interrupted the flow of the book for me.

I also felt like this book was more about telling story of individual trends (i.e. cupcakes, cornets, bacon, etc.) rather than establishing a kind of framework for how food trends form.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The Tastemakers: Why We're Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up with Fondue, provides an interesting look at food trends, exploring how and why they come about. It is broken up into three parts. Part I deals with the Four Types of Trends, Part II: How Trends Break Out, and Part III: Why Food Trends Matter. I was immediately hooked from the beginning, which explores the cultural trend with talk of my all time favorite dessert, the cupcake. It was fascinating and surprising to learn how cupcakes became so trendy in the U.S. I continued to be curious about the other types of food trends discussed: agriculture, chefs, and health.

I was still very engaged with the book as I began reading the second section (about how trends break out). But somewhere in the midst of part two, the author started to lose me, and my interest began to wane. The research and writing were well executed, but perhaps the book included almost a little too much detail for my taste. Just as I was plugging along through the beginning of part three, and a bit too much detail about Indian food, things really started to lose steam.

I considered tabling the book for awhile, but thankfully the author brought me back around with DC food trucks. Food trucks fascinate me, and DC is just outside my hometown. That section was a definite win for me. Then Sax continued to bounce back into my heart with bacon. My beloved bacon. I pressed on, and enjoyed reading about fondue, and its cycle of popularity. Finally, who could resist the cronut closing? I've yet to try a cronut (a hybrid croissant/doughnut) but the idea delights and intrigues me. Overall, this was an interesting read about food trends, and why we buy the things we do. I'd highly recommend this book to all foodies, as well as those who enjoy research and learning how trends break out.

*Many thanks to Netgalley for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.
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Format: Hardcover
Very interesting look at what foods become popular and why. I didn’t realize how much planning went into making something as innocuous as a kind of apple worth more than another variety of apple. I was surprised to actually be interested in pork belly futures. I was given a free e-copy to read on NetGalley a couple of months ago and I am still thinking and talking about it, so much so that I am buying a hard copy to share with friends and to read again. I will probably buy another copy as a gift for a relative who loves marketing. Highly recommended for foodies and those who like marketing or economics.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I think there is too much scene setting, and description of where the author is experiencing his research (for instance, I am not interested in the meal you are having when someone is hawking rice, or the what the room looks like where a bunch of vendors are hawking gourmet cheese), and not well balanced with the insights, lessons, models of what was being researched.

It's a good book to practice speed reading too. You can avoid digesting much of the fluff, and seek out some interesting details, or insights. I don't usually like to abandon books, but this has become too laborious for my taste (I don't prefer to wait in lines in order to Instagram photos of food, and tell my friends just how much the wait in the long line was justified).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good book, however, I am in the food marketing business so I have a great interest in the "biz". It will give all foodies some nice insight presented in an entertaining format. David really knows his stuff.
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