Review: The Taste of Tomorrow by Josh Schonwald

I am admitting defeat.

I have tried at least 4 times to get through The Taste of Tomorrow: Dispatches from the Future of Food by Josh Schonwald. In theory, it’s the sort of book I should love. I am interesting in food and gardening and how the growing population of the planet will be fed over the coming years. I am also an unashamed foodie — I buy organic vegetables, free range meat and avoid farm-raised fish. I am intrigued by new cooking techniques. I figured this book would be a very fast read for me.

Unfortunately, this was not the case. The information is good — Schonwald interviews scientists, farmers, and various types of food engineers. He traveled, visiting farms and factories and fisheries. He knows his stuff, but he can’t seem to make it interesting. He just could not keep me reading.

I thought maybe the problem was starting with “The Bagged Salad Revolution.” I mean, I love a good salad, and I love finding new and interesting greens at the farmer’s market, but I don’t find the history of radicchio in the United States all that interesting. Much of what these chapters said seemed basic to me: you’ve got people who want to buy salad in a plastic bag that will stay fresh in their refrigerator for a month, and you’ve got people who want to buy fresh greens every weekend at the farm stand and would rather eat weeds than iceberg lettuce. No real drama there.

The problem was the same in each chapter I tried. We’ve all known professors like Josh, the ones who clearly know their stuff, but can’t seem to get you engaged in their lectures. This felt more like a lecture and less like an interesting narrative. I’m sorry that I can’t say anything more positive. I was really hoping to love this book.

My copy of The Taste of Tomorrow: Dispatches from the Future of Food was an Advanced Reader Copy, provided free of charge.

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