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Dispatches from the Future of Food

by Josh Schonwald

Pub Date: April 10th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-06-180421-2
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

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.