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Lost feast : culinary extinction and the future of food
2019
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Summary

"Edifying and entertaining." -- Foreword Reviews, starred review

A rollicking exploration of the history and future of our favorite foods

When we humans love foods, we love them a lot. In fact, we have often eaten them into extinction, whether it is the megafauna of the Paleolithic world or the passenger pigeon of the last century. In Lost Feast , food expert Lenore Newman sets out to look at the history of the foods we have loved to death and what that means for the culinary paths we choose for the future. Whether it's chasing down the luscious butter of local Icelandic cattle or looking at the impacts of modern industrialized agriculture on the range of food varieties we can put in our shopping carts, Newman's bright, intelligent gaze finds insight and humor at every turn.

Bracketing the chapters that look at the history of our relationship to specific foods, Lenore enlists her ecologist friend and fellow cook, Dan, in a series of "extinction dinners" designed to recreate meals of the past or to illustrate how we might be eating in the future. Part culinary romp, part environmental wake-up call, Lost Feast makes a critical contribution to our understanding of food security today. You will never look at what's on your plate in quite the same way again.

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What if there were no more chickens? Newman looks back to find now-vanished foods that were taken for granted by the people of their time. So doing, she delves into the history of culinary extinction, and what it could mean for our dinner tables now and in the future. From the disappearance of the dodo to the disastrous environmental effect of the more than one billion cows and nineteen billion chickens that are on the planet at any one time, Newman walks readers through the past, present, and possible future of food. Can we back breed the indomitable aurochs? Why is the passenger pigeon extinct? Has science created a meatless burger that's indistinguishable from the real thing? Newman's jaunts through the animal kingdom alternate with themed meals with her friend Dan as she ponders how historical extinctions are linked to our current food systems, what we can do about it, and how humans must follow the example of the famed New York ""pizza rat,"" and adapt to the food that comes their way.--Alice Burton Copyright 2010 Booklist
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