On sale Nov. 10. Available for pre-order on:
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In the last century, we have lived – and eaten – through the most dramatic shifts ever experienced in food and agriculture. The changes are insidious: buried in the soil, tucked in beehives and hidden in cattle feedlots. They start with microorganisms invisible to the naked eye and echo through every link in our food chain – from soil to seed to pollinator, from plant to fish to animal – compromising every part of the system that makes food possible.
While much of this is invisible, what we do know is that food is beginning to look and taste the same, whether you’re strolling through a San Francisco farmers market, at a Midwestern potluck – or a McDonald’s in India. Ninety-five percent of the world’s calories now come from only 30 species, and a closer look at America’s cornucopia of grocery store options reveals that our foods are primarily made up of only three crops: corn, wheat and rice. Diverse foods all over the world are being replaced with monodiets of monocrops. Food itself, the most delicious, diverse varieties of food, are being lost: slowly and irrevocably.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love – part memoir of a journey to six continents in pursuit of delicious and endangered tastes, part investigation of the loss of biodiversity from soil to plate – tells the story of what we are losing, how we are losing it, and the inspiring people and places that are bringing back the foods we love.
Join award-winning journalist Simran Sethi as she travels from wild coffee forests in Ethiopia to cocoa plantations of Ecuador, from the brewery to the bakery and the temple, to meet scientists, farmers, chefs, wine makers, beer brewers, coffee roasters and chocolate connoisseurs to discuss the reasons for this loss and learn what it means to experience food in a whole new way, tasting foods more deeply through each one of our senses in order to savor – and save – the foods we love.
Advance praise for Bread, Wine, Chocolate:
“A stirring call to arms for anyone who loves food!”
– Andrea Reusing, James Beard award-winning chef and author of Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes
“In this illuminating and impactful book, Simran Sethi sheds light on the dwindling diversity of our diets and our landscapes through the stories of our most beloved tastes. The solution to this global agricultural and culinary crisis, she argues, lies in our collective palates. Bread, Wine, Chocolate calls on all of us to cherish—and thus preserve—the world’s endangered flavors.”
– Dan Barber, chef/co-owner of Blue Hill Restaurant and New York Times bestselling author of The Third Plate
“A passionate plea to save and restore the things most precious about our food—its myriad flavors and its connection with nature. As global economic forces slowly squeeze the uniqueness out of what we eat, Simran Sethi explores the culinary delights that offer hope, and deliciousness, for the future.”
– John McQuaid, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat
“Follow Simran on a journey with a lifetime companion: taste buds. They are not baubles to be manipulated by food conglomerates. Taste buds are the most precious of gifts. They are evolution itself, a teacher, a kindness, a guide sorting out millions of molecules, a doorman making sure that everything we chew and savor is on the guest list.
In this needed and nourishing volume, you will discover how tastes can recover an even larger sense, a self that is intimately connected to a vast, pulsating life of ecstasy and delight. Read this and you will understand that cuisine is how we kiss the world. There is more good news: It kisses back.”
– Paul Hawken, New York Times bestselling author of Natural Capitalism and Blessed Unrest
“Read this wonderful book and you will become immersed in the intricate worlds of no less than six (delicious) foods and drinks. But this is not really a book about food. Rather, it is about our relationships with the life forms that sustain us—and how we might learn to approach those relationships with far more love, compassion, and good taste.”
– Naomi Klein, New York Times bestselling author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine
“When Simran Sethi lasers in on a topic, stop and take notice. She is a fierce observer and a cool head in a world riven with misinformation, disinformation, and just plain wrong-headedness. Her new book, Bread, Wine, Chocolate should be required reading for culinary students, chefs in training, journalists, scholars, cooks and citizens who care about what they put into their mouths as well as what we’re doing to Mother Earth.
All I can say to you is: Watch out Gary Taubes, Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle, Nina Planck. There’s a new expert coming on the scene. A hot new voice of reason in a cold, frightened world, Simran Sethi is the kind of writer who can coat the bitter pill in honey and we all just swallow and say thank you.”
– Linda West Eckhardt, IACP Julia Child award-winning author of Bread in Half the Time and editor/founder of Everybody Eats News
“By turns explorer and explainer, Simran Sethi conducts a thoughtful and heartfelt tour of humanity’s most beloved tastes—and the threats that could extinguish them forever.”
– Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club
“When we taste, we taste history—the interplay of crops, livestock and even wild things—with our own human cultures. And we taste diversity: genetic diversity, cultural diversity. Simran Sethi’s book opens this world to a new generation by focusing on foods we think we know, but don’t.
Bread, Wine, Chocolate helps us understand the richness of these foods and others, and why it is essential to preserve diversity if we wish to appreciate and fully benefit from such foods in the future. Readers of this book will both enjoy and be enlightened; many will even find their taste buds subtly changed by a new awareness of what they are really eating.”
– Cary Fowler, senior advisor to the Global Crop Diversity Trust and author of Shattering: Food, Politics, and the Loss of Genetic Diversity
“A powerful reminder that we can eat in ways that don’t cause damage to the planet or its poorest people—and that can delight us, not just fill us up. Don’t read it on an empty stomach!”
– Bill McKibben, Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and New York Times bestselling author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet