The Tastemakers

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)

Book - 2014
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Publisher: Toronto : Signal, an imprint of McClelland & Stewart, [2014]
ISBN: 9780771079122
0771079125
Branch Call Number: 641.3 SAX NVD
Characteristics: xvi, 318 p. ; 24 cm

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t
trudat
Mar 31, 2016

Interesting book - gave me plenty to think about. Agree with the previous reviewer that it is full of 'dinner party facts,' but it'd take a pretty die-hard food nerd to get through the whole book - it is long!

l
libraryeee
Dec 01, 2014

This book may have been better as a series of magazine articles. How long can you go on about cupcakes?! I gave up on in after 3 chapters.

bandblair Nov 20, 2014

I only found a few of the chapters relevant and interesting.

ksoles Jun 23, 2014

3.5 Stars...

Breathe a sigh of relief: David Sax makes it clear that his new book aims to examine the rise and decline of food trends while neither creating guilt nor encouraging a "healthier" lifestyle. His refreshing approach of discussing food without diet counselling allows the reader to appreciate the author's careful, detailed study of why industry fads blossom and wane.

Sax divides "The Tastemakers" into three parts, the first of which describes the four types of trends: cultural (sex appeal), agricultural, chef-driven and health-driven. Here, Sax’s personal interactions with each participant in this sequence offer fascinating insider information and lend credibility to his analysis. Part II studies the most intriguing aspect of food trends: how they become part of our lives. Sax challenges the notion that fads catch on randomly by peering into the food company board room, in which corporate honchos meticulously consider data collected on consumer habits before developing a new product. Devious marketing ploys admit certain foods to the "cool club," guaranteeing that we devour them as if they're going out of style. Finally, part III discusses the demise of food trends such as fondue. Sax also explores political issues, delving into food truck wars and municipal legislation.

Unfortunately, "The Tastemakers" suffers from occasional gender stereotypes. A male grain grower comes across as as a warrior who paddles a canoe into alligator-infested waters to hand-harvest rice whereas Sax describes a female goat-herder and artisanal caramel maker as “a slender, freckly redhead with J. Crew catalog looks,” who is lucky enough to sport an “equally hunky husband.” Nearly twice as many men as women have quotes in the book and Sax obnoxiously overdoes the adjective "ballsy" when referring to courage.

Sax sometimes jumps too fast and too far between subjects and his collection of anecdotes interspersed with opinion ultimately leaves the reader hungry for something deeper. But, in fairness, targeting the massive, intricately connected world of food trends in a journalistically reported book is no mean feat. "The Tastemakers" provides plenty of dinner-party facts and tells the compelling truth that the human diet consists of both what the body needs and what society tells us the body needs.

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