She is the author of Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love (named one of the best food books of 2016 by Smithsonian) about changes in food and agriculture told through bread, wine, chocolate, coffee and beer, and the contributing author of Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy on sustainability and business.
“Brimming with information and amply footnoted, Bread, Wine, Chocolate is a revelation throughout.”–Science
In the last century, we have lived—and eaten—through the most dramatic shifts ever experienced in food and agriculture. 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 corn, wheat, rice, palm oil and soybeans. Food itself—the most delicious, diverse varieties of food—is being lost, slowly and irrevocably.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
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.
“… full of wonderfully geeky bits of science, including an excellent section on how memory and culture influences our perception of taste. But Sethi’s friendly, welcoming tone makes serious topics digestible and pleasurable. ‘Eat and drink with reverence and gusto, whether it’s a Big Mac or a mountain of kale,’ she writes, with an admirable lack of foodie pretension.” –Associated Press
“Is biodiversity the key to a better cup of coffee? And how sexy can achieving food security really be? Simran Sethi’s answers are ‘yes’ and ‘you’d be surprised.’ In her book, [she] looks at ways in which monoculture and an increasingly standardized global diet put food systems in peril and leave crops vulnerable to blight and climate change. And she does so winningly, by relishing her favorite things to eat and drink, visiting the places they’re produced, digging up their stories and teasing out nuances of flavor unique to individual varieties and landscapes.” –The Wall Street Journal
“Unlike many other recent books that cover some of the same territory, what sets Sethi’s work apart isher joyous, generous attitude toward the human appetite.”–The Boston Globe
“Our tables … are never really of, or for, one, as Sethi elegantly shows us.”–NPR
“A heartfelt lament for the homogenisation of our taste buds.”–The Independent
“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
“We need more investigative journalists like Simran Sethi. She writes with a deep understanding of pleasure and taste to convey her urgent message—we must make uncompromising, purposeful choices when it comes to what we eat before it’s too late! Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love is a loving call to action that we must heed.” –Alice Waters, chef, author and the proprietor of Chez Panisse
“Simran Sethi’s passionate book on food and biodiversity reminds us how healing food can be. The world is on our plate.” –Deepak Chopra, M.D., author of more than 80 books, including Super Genes: Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being
“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
“This absorbing book serves to remind us that biodiversity, through a diversity of species, varieties and breeds of plant and animal foods, including wild food, underpins dietary diversity, good nutrition and health. It also underscores the need to place a renewed emphasis on sustaining the natural varieties of crops and animals contributing to agriculture, including neglected yet nutritious traditional foods, in order to improve food security.” –Dr. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Convention on Biological Diversity
“An important component of agrobiodiversity is culinary and cultural diversity. This beautiful book brings into sharp focus the threat to culinary diversity as a result of genetic erosion. Already the food basket is shrinking and a few crops are occupying the dominant position in our daily diet. Simran Sethi has, through this book, brought out clearly the importance of diversity of food and the need for the conservation of the foods whose taste we cherish and enjoy. The book provides a rationale for the need for a culinary revolution in all parts of the world.” –M. S. Swaminathan, M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation
“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, New York Times bestselling author of The Third Plate
“Bread, Wine, Chocolate reads like a page-turning novel. The author writes like a dream, and she leaves the reader with an intimate and changed relationship to the foods and drinks (e.g. bread, wine, beer, chocolate, coffee) that delight us. What the book jacket says is true: ‘This is a book about food, but it’s really a book about love.'” –Harriet Lerner, author of New York Times Bestseller The Dance of Anger
“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, Sierra Club
“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
“The history of how bread, wine and chocolate entered our lives, related by Simran Sethi, is both inspiring and humbling. Humbling because of the richness and diversity of tastes that we can enjoy and that fill our souls. And inspiring, as it invites us to be curious about their origins and mindful of the hard work of the many men and women that grow, process and make these delights possible. The diversity is threatened and disappearing fast, and this book wakes us up to value these precious resources and stop this process.” –Brigitte Laliberté, Bioversity International
“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
“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